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Lt.-Gen. PITT-RIVERS, D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A., ETC. 










J. P. EMSLIE. . 




J. T. NAAKfe. 

EDWARD CLODD, 19, Carleton Road, Tufnell Park, N. 


F. A. MILNE, M.A., 11, Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, London, W.C. 



A Collection of Folklore by Michael Aislabie Denham, 





VOL. I. 








The title of this volume is derived from the author of the 
tracts and leaflets which a re reprinted — Michael Aislabie 
Denham. Mr. Denham was a local tradesman in Pierse Bridge, 
and throughout his life he was a diligent collector of the then 
unconsidered trifles which occupy so much of old peasant 
thought and life. He collected before Folklore as a subject of 
study and inquiry was thought of. He printed his collections 
in local newspapers, stray leaflets, or small pamphlets, and until 
the Percy Society requested him to compile a volume for them 
hejiad no thought, or at all events no chanc e, of bringing his 
collections before the public in volume form. 

At the Time when the Folklore Society was formed in 1878 
Mr. Thoms brought before the Council the subject of the 
Denham Tracts. He had a few of them. Some were deposited 
in the library of the Society of Antiquaries, some were in the 
British Museum, and the late Mr. Edward Hailstone had a very 
good collection, which was sold with his otlier books after his 
death. But not one of these several collections was complete. 
By carefully collating them, however, one with the other, it was 
possible to get together as complete a collection as by the 
nature of things could be expected. Mr. Thoms urged the task 
upon the Council, and mainly through his endeavours the work 
was proceeded with. Mr. Hailstone lent some of his copies to 
fill up the lacuiise in the British Museum collection and that of 
the Society of Antiquaries, and after considerable trouble the 


whole collection, so far as could be ascertained; was carefully 
transcribed for the Society. While this work was going on Mr. 
James Hardy joined the Society, and was greatly interested in 
the publication of the Denham Tracts. Mr. Denham had been 
a correspondent of his, and he possessed many of the tracts 
with MS. additions by Mr. Denham and by himself, and he 
placed his services at the disposal of the Society. The Council 
were only too pleased to avail themselves of this opportunity, 
and Mr. Hardy was asked to edit the volume, a request which 
was kindly acceded to, though at the cost of much time stolen 
from other arduous editorial and scientifif^- duties in connection 
with Berwickshire, where he resides. 

This reprint of the tracts will occupy, when completed, Jwp 
volumes. The material has been so divided that the first volume 
shall consist of the local and family traditions and characteristics ; 
the second 'of the peasant superstitions and customs. The value 
of the first volume will not be quite appreciated perhaps on the 
lines generally followed by students of Folklore who are too 
apt to study the superstitions, customs, and traditions of the 
people without studying the people and their surroundings. 
But it is not enough to know what the Folklore actually is. 
We must get to know, if we would study it properly, the con- 
ditions and surroundings by which it has been brought down 
generation after generation. No one reading through the first 
volume of these tracts can fail to draw a picture of border life 
at variance with what he would be inclined to draw by the aid 
of other books on the subject, and it is exactly this difference in 
the pictures which is likely to be so valuable to our future 
studies of the Folklore of this particular district. The elements 
of savagery were not eradicated here ; tribal life and instincts 
still formed the basis of the social condition. The border chief- 
tain, caring more for his horse than his land (see p. 17), loved 
by and loving his own clan, hated by and hating all outside 1: 


own clan, living by force of arms and carrying out his revenge 
against hereditary enemies in a fashion sanctioned only by 
tradition, lives in rhyme, proverb, and story in the hearts and 
memories of his people as the highest objective force in their 
lives. Localities to them were not what localities are to the 
modern Englishman. They were weather guides or prophets ; 
they represented the boundary without which lived only aliens 
and strangers, who were of course enemies (see p. 22) ; they 
were the focus-points round which clans were forced by outside 
influences to congregate, and they were identified in rhyme and 
proverb with the characteristics of their people ; but they 
were not home settlements in our modern sense. Nothing 
seems to me more significant of the attitude of unsettled clans 
during the very process of transition from clan life to village 
and town life than these old rhymes, which reflect a condition of 
culture at distinct variance with the generally accepted view of 
English historical evidence. It is this condition of culture 
which wants so much to be examined carefully and systemati- 
cally. There is too little evidence of it available for systematic 
treatment, and the volume before us is valuable if only on 
account of its obvious characteristic as an undesigned and un- 
arranged collection of important evidence not to be obtained 
elsewhere. Ridpath's Border History, Clarke's Survey of the 
Lakes, the volume of Border Laws published by the Commis- 
sion presided over by the Bishop of Durham, and perhaps 
some few other books of the same sort and not generally 
accessible to the student, are but sidelights of a picture full of 
deep glaring colours, blood reds and purples thrown into the 
darkest shades, or illumined by the strongest and fiercest 

Michael Aislabie Denham died at Pierse Bridge on the 10th 
Septejnber, 1859. Born near Bowes in Yorkshire after the 
commencement of the century, he engaged in business at Hull 


during the early part of his life, but ultimately settled as a 
general merchant in a moderate way at Pierse Bridge. 

In 1846, when the Percy Society were issuing their publica- 
tions, Mr. Denham was induced to contribute a " part " of 73 
pages, which he entitled " A Collection of Proverbs and 
Popular Sayings relating to the Seasons, the Weather, and 
Agricultural Pursuits, gathered chiefly from Oral Tradition." 
The first attempt to record these was made by him in 
" Richardson's Table Book, etc." He had previously, under 
the signature of " M. A. D.," been a contributor to Honeys 
publications. Ten years afterwards he printed " Slogans, and 
War, and Gathering Cries of the North of England," which 
he issued subsequently with additions in a neat volume of 110 
pages. About the same period he commenced " A Collection 
of Bishoprick Ehymes, Proverbs, and Sayings," to which he 
afterwards added four Tracts of the same kind, completing the 
last about 1858. "Cumberland Rhymes, Proverbs, and 
Sayings " next occupied his attention, and these were con- 
tained in four successive Parts, the last appearing m 1854. 

In 18.50 he issued " Popular Rhymes, Proverbs, Sayings, 
Prophecies, etc., peculiar to the Isle of Man, and the Manks 
People," being assisted by a gentleman resident in the island. 

Westmoreland also afforded him gleanings which in 1858 
were completed in two Parts. Of " Folklore " chiefly relating 
to the North of England he issued four Parts from 1850 to 
1858. " Sundry Minor Tracts," to the number of twenty, he 
printed, commencing about 1849 and terminating about 1854. 
In the year last mentioned he began to print " Folklore of 
Northumberland," which extended to six separate impressions, 
whereof the last appeared in 1856. 

Mr. Denham took great interest in the discoveries of Roman 
Remains made during the formation of the Darlington and 
Barnard Castle Railway at Pierse Bridge and Carlebury. An 
account of these, under the signature " Archaeus," he printed in 


four notices, October, 1855, February, 1856, August, 1856, and 
7th March, 1857. Mr. Denham was a diligent collector of 
Roman coins and other antiquities, and furnished his friends 
with impressions of them in wax and gutta-percha. 

His largest work occupied much of his time during the last 
year of his life, and was entitled '' Folklore, or a Collection of 
Local Rhymes, Proverbs, Sayings, Prophecies, Slogans, etc., 
relating to Northumberland, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and Berwick- 
on Tweed." It consists of 154 pages, and the impression was 
limited to only 50 copies. Besides these he had many other 
slips printed on similar subjects, and the last effort of his pen 
was to complete " A Classified Catalogue of the Antiquarian 
Tomes, Tracts, and Trifles," which had been edited by himself. 
Very few collectors are in possession of all his publications, and 
they who desire to complete sets spare no expense to achieve 
that object, for several cannot be obtained, and it is improbable 
that they will ever be recovered. 

In domestic life Mr. Denham was a kind and amiable man. 
Though somewhat formal in manner, which his intercourse with 
the world did not wear off, he was blameless and inoffensive, 
ever candid and upright in his dealings, while those with whom 
he was intimate mourned the loss of a true and steadfast friend. 
His ruling passion influenced him to the last ; for the Catalogue 
of his Tracts, already alluded to, is dated August, 1859, when 
he was subject to much suffering, and his correspondence was 
maintained to within a few days of his decease. 

Dr. Hardy has added to this edition of the Tracts many 
valuable notes derived from his own observation and reading, 
and these are distinguished by the initials [J. H.] printed in 
square brackets. In other respects the. reprints are exactly as 
they were last issued by Mr. Denham. 


Barnes, S.W., 

June, 1892. 



The following budget, from a great variety of sources, several 
of them being marked down from books, and others picked up 
in the country, I have placed here, rather than -disarrange 
Mr. Denham's series. Although not all popular sayings, they are 
akin to them, and are good pegs for hanging historical facts, or 
popular attributes of places or persons, upon. I give those that 
refer to places or persons in a sort of geographical order, com- 
mencing at Tweedside, and going southwards, and then proceed 
to those of a more general nature, or possessed of an historical 
character. — James Hardy. 

Attributes of the River Tweed. 

Utmost Tweed. — Milton. 

Tweed, slow winding through the vale. — Somerville's Chase, bk. i. 

Tweed, pure parent stream, 

Whose pastoral banks first heard my Doric reed. 

Thomson's Autumn. 

Our northern borders boast of Tweed's fair flood. 

Drayton's Idea. Sonnet 32. 


Tweed, the limit between Logris land 
And Albany. 

Spenser's Fairy Queen, bk. iv. 

A river here, there an ideal line 

By fancy drawn, divides the sister kingdoms ; 

On each side dwells a people, similar 

As twins are to each other, valiant both — 

Both for their valour famous through the world. 

Home's Douglas. 

Wandering from muddy Tyne to silver Tweed. — B. W. 

Tweed, which no more our kingdoms shall divide. 

Forth Feasting, Drummond's WorTcs, p. 127. 

Tweed, the fairest Caledonian flood. 

Brown's Piscatory Eclogues, p. 98. 

Tweed is notable for two commodities, specially salmon and whet- 
stones. — Patten's Expedition into Scotland^ London, 1 G48. 

Tweed's silver streams 
Glittering in the sunny beams. 

Mrs. CocTcburn. 
What beauty does Flora disclose, 

How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed. 


Where Tweed's soft banks in liberal beauty lie, 
And Flora laughs beneath an azure sky. 


Both sides of the Tweed. — Toast. 

Berwick the second Alexandria. 

An ancient historian terms Berwick a second Alexandria. — 
Chron. Lanercost ; Scott's Hist, of Scotland, i. p. 57; Tytler, 
vol. i. pp. Ill, 112 ; Hist, of Berioick, by John Scott, p. 13. 

Berwick the Gibraltar of Scotland. 

Mackenzie's Northumberland, i. p. 323, note. 


From Byron to Berwick — Berwick to Calais. 

So clerre, and so colour like 
That no bird was liim like, 
Fro Byron to Berwike 
Under the bewis. 

The Houlat hy Holland. 

Sibbald's Ghron. of S. Poet, pt. i. p. 78. 

Gif evir my fortune was to be a freir, 
The dait thairof is past full mony a yeir, 
For unto every lusty toun and place, 
Of all Yngland, from Berwick to Calaice, 
I have into thy habit maid gud cheir. 

Dunbar's How Dunbar was designed to be ane Frear. 

Berwick to the Land's End. 
As for protection, her face will protect her from Berwick to 
the Land's End. — Fortunes of Nigel, iii. p. 33. 

Fro Berwyk unto Ware. 

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 1. 694. 


At the battle of Shrewsbury in 1402, when buckling on his 
armour. Hotspur called for his sword ; and on his attendant 
telling him it had been left at Berwic, a village not far distant. 
Hotspur exclaimed, " At Berwic a wizard told me I should not 
live long after seeing Berwic, but I always thought of Berwic/i- 
upon-Tweedj^* and from that moment he was visibly discom- 
posed. — Accompaniment to Topographical Map of England, 
p. 94. 

The incident is thus related by "Wyntomi. While the Regent 
of Scotland, a.d. 1403, led an army to the assistance of Cock- 
law — 



In all this tyni tlie young Percy, 
Be wicbcraft or devilry, 
Trowit, in nane utbir stede 
Bot in Berwike to be ded : 
Berwike-upon-Tweed for-tbi 
He for-bare for tbat fantasy. 

Cron. bk. ix. c. 34 ; vol. ii. p. 407. 

In the Battle of Shrewsbury — 

In-to the Feild of Berwike then 
All assemblyt tliir Ynglis men. 
That wyst nocht this yong Percy 
Bot trowit that land was Schrewisbery, 
Quhil he had sped wyth-outyn let, 
And his hors some til hym get. 
Than ansuerit hym a multitude, 
That his hors in Berwike stad. 
" In Berwik ! " he said, " than am I 
All begylit swykfully." * 

lb. p. 408. 

" Braid-Walit Berwick," i.e. " Broad-walled." 

Braid-walit Berwick, 

Tuedis toune, famosit befoir 

Throw many scoir 
' Off mortall-myndit men ; 
Bot now we'll ken 

His death is (has) gained mair gloir 

Than ever befoir, 
Thocht thowsandis in thee slain. 

Gife cities stroave qulia brocht to Homer breath, 

Then boldlie Berwick brag of sic a death. 
Giv cities sevin for Paganis birth contend 
Then much mair Berwick famous, be his end ! 

Poems on the Death of Mr. James Melvill, by Thomas 
Melvill, aged 14. — Pref. to MelvilVs Aufohiog. p. Ixxii. &c. 

* i.e. deceitfully. 


Mr. James Melvill died at Berwick, Jan. 21, 1613 (o.s.) (1614 
N.s,), aged 59, in tlie eighth year of his banishment. 

" Bonny Berwick." 

A proverbial epithet applied by the Newcastle Daily Chronicle^ 
1861, to a native of the town guilty of cheatery. 


Opposite to the castle (of Berwick) on the other side of the 
river is still seen the place called Hang-a-Dyke-Nook, where the 
young Setons were executed. An old woman who was hanging 
out her clothes to bleach said, " Ye see it by the length of bank 
that has shuthered down. They say it will never stop up if they 
build it up ever so often." But I could not find that she could 
remember it ever to have been built up in her time — twenty 
years. Be that as it may, about a hundred yards there show a 
red vacancy of earth on the otherwise green banks of the river. 
— Hewitt's Visit to Remarkable Places, pp. 491, 492. See 
Eidpath's Border Hist. p. 306. 

The Berwick Smacks. 

This occurs as a nickname applied by Northumbrians to 
sheai-ers from Berwick in a kemp. — Story's Harvest, p. 54. 

The Bound Kode. 

In Mr. Patrick Galloway's letter to Mr. James Carmichaell 
(agent at London of the banished Scots Lords then at New- 
castle), from Newcastle, the 2nd November, 1584: "This same 
minor natu Clodius (Lord Claude Hamilton) is to be at London, 
and (is) to stay at his power the good cause. With him we are 
informed Metellanus, Montrosius, and l^Telvinus deales, and 
some of his side of the Bound Rode. I am sure ye will get know- 
ledge." (The " Bound Rode " was the line of boundary, on 
this side of Berwick, separating the two kingdoms.) — The 


Miscellanies of the Wodrow Society^ edited by David Laing, Esq. 
Edin. 1844, p. 424. 


" As for poor Maggy she must shift for herself, as the 
forester did when he was left alone to cry out ' Bare w^eek.' 
Tradition derives the name of Berwick from this strange 
etymology ; also from being a rendezvous of bears, which are 
blazoned on the town arms." — Millers Baldred of the Bass, 
p. 113. 

Berwick Bridge. 

"It is said that it is founded upon woolpacks, from the 
sources whence the expenses of building were drawn." — 
Jeffrey's Hist, of Roxburghshire, iii. p. 24, note. 

" The Gooseberries." 

In the report of the Berwick Election Bribery Commission, 
1861, it is stated : " Mr. Weatherhead, the Conservative agent, 
said he thought he had heard that head-money was considered 
by the freemen as a sort of right." It went by the name of 
*' gooseberries." On this the Berwick Advertiser, Feb. 23, 
1861, remarks : " Head-money, known as gooseberries, has not 
existed in the borough of Berwick for the last sixty years. 
About sixty years back the gooseberries were openly and regu- 
larly ripe for pulling in the autumn ; but in 1802 a contested 
election took place between Colonel Hall and Mr. Fordyce of 
Ayton on one side, and Mr. Daniel Ord of Longridge on the 
other. The last-named was unsuccessful at the poll, and he 
petitioned against the two others, and unseated them on the 
question of ' gooseberries.' Since then there has been no head- 
money known as gooseberries paid in the borough." 

"The Gull- Hole." 
The name given to the house where the Conservative bribery 



agent of recent years distributed the money to the freemen. A 
" gull hole " is a pit on the sea-coast for concealment in shoot- 
ing gulls and other sea-fowl. 

Carham Haugh, or Spittal Sands. 

On the Tweedside, from Kelso upwards, it is a common 
saying, that if the bodies of drowned persons are got nowhere 
else, they are sure to be found on Carham Haugh or Spittal 
Sands. — Paterson's Philip Cranston, p. 34. 

As DEEP AS Pedwell (pron. Pedell). 

Pedwell is a fishery in the Tweed. It is mentioned by 
Reginald of Durham in his Miracles of St. Cnthbert, c. 73, 
p. 149, as "Padduwell." 

Fisherman of Norham, 

" There's neither goat's hair nor ony thing else brings ony 
rain as lang ns it's dry weather, as the fishermen of Norham 
say when they are longing for rain." 

Cirrus clouds, with flexuous and diverging fibres, and re- 
sembling locks of hair, are called goat's hair, and indicate wind 
or rain. Several years since I arranged with a friend to visit 
Cheviot, and I happened to be strolling with an intelligent 
farmer over his fields on the day preceding my visit. " Ah," 
says he, looking up to the sky, " you'll have a bad day to- 
morrow for Cheviot — see the goat's hair." I could not believe 
his prophecy, for the day was remarkably fine and the weather 
appeared settled. To Cheviot I went, but there I encountered 
one of the greatest thunderstorms I ever witnessed. 

When dry weather continues for any length of time, no 
salmon can be caught at Norham, and the fishers become so im- 
patient and querulous that they, by their proverb, disavow all 
faith in weather prognostics. — Mr. George Tate and Mr. W. 


St. Cuthbert's Stone Boat. 

" Tillraouth is a small village on the west of Twizell Bridge. 
It belongs principally to Sir Francis Blake, who has built a 
neat little mansion-house for his occasional residence on the 
banks of the Till, and at the east end of the village. It contains 
an excellent collection of paintings (pictures). Tillmouth be- 
longed to Jordan Riddell in 1272, and afterwards to the 
Claverings for many generations. Tillmouth Chapel, dedicated 
to St. Cuthbert, and situated on a peninsula at the confluence 
of the Till and Tweed, is now in ruins. Not far from this 
ruined building Sir Francis Blake, a few years ago, built a 
small chapel. Near this place lay, till lately, the remains of a 
stone boat or coffin, in which, tradition says, the body of St. 
Cuthbert was miraculously conveyed down the Tweed from 


* « « * • « 

Mr. Hutchinson mentions a circumstance which continues to 
be repeated among the Northumbrian peasantry. " There was, 
some years ago, a design to convert this hallowed vessel to a 
mean purpose, a peasant having devised to pickle pork in it, or 
thereout to feed his hogs ; to preserve it from such profanation, 
the spirits of darkness brake it in the night." — Mackenzie's 
Northumberland, i. p. 338, 2d ed. 1825. 

Lambe, in his Notes to the Battle of Flodden, p. 158, gives a 
different version : " Not many years since a farmer of Cornhill 
coveted the saint's stone boat, in order to keep pickled beef in 
it. Before this profane loon could convey it away, the saint 
came in the night time and broke it in pieces, which now lie at 
St. Cuthbert's Chapel to please the curious and confute the 

" About three miles west from this place," says Mark, 
writing in 1734, "at the confluence of the Till and Tweed, 
are the remains of an old Popish chapel, dedicated to St. Cuth- 
bert, and a kind of stone trough, almost in the form of a boat. 


The inhabitants thereabout affirm this to have been in reality 
used as such by that celebrated wonder-working saint, and have 
a story among them of his saihng in it. It is narrower at the 
one end than the other, and is a kind of hard freestone, or, as it 
is called, bastard whin." ^ "^ "I was told many romantic 
stories concerning it, particularly of a good farmer, Roger 
Percy, that had the misfortune to profane the ground about the 
chapel with the plough, for which his saintship was pleased to 
send a plague of madness on him and his whole family." — 
Mark's Survey of Northumberland, p. 75. 

From a copy of verses inscribed in the Neiocastle Magazine 
for 1827, p. 81, it appears that even the fragments were at 
length broken into pieces, and that for the purpose of building a 
stone wall. The writer observed two pieces of it. 

But r.h ! at last time changed the scene, 
An' changed our fortune sair I ween ; 
The Cleghorns rose — foul fa' their spleen 

The loun-like tykes ! 
An' the stane-boat hae broken clean 

To mend their dykes. 

It has recently been alleged that the Rev. Robert Lambe 
invented the story of the " Stone Boat ; " but the date of Mark''s 
" Survey " disproves this. 


The institution of the Order of the Garter took place in con- 
sequence of a circumstance that happened at Wark Castle, about 

Haddek, Pressok, Paston, Downham, and Kilham. 

The country people pun on the names of these places, which— 
except the first, which is in Scotland — are in Northumberland, 
and say that when arranged they represent the incidents of a 
hunt. The fox, or whatever was the beast of game, was, let us 
say, found at Had-him ; the hunters were in full career at 
Press-him ; but the hounds were at fault at Pass'd-him ; but 


having again caught the scent they bowled him over at Downed- 
him ; he, howevei-, recovered his limbs, and got away ; but 
was finally run into at Kill-him. 

A simple country girl was once met sobbing and crying on 
the road between Downham and Kilham. Being asked where 
she came from and what was the matter, she replied, " My 
fayther's deein', I've come frae Downham (dooing him), and 
I'm gaun to Kilham " (Kill-him). 

An Irish tramp being told that the village he had come to 
was Kilham, said he expected that the next place on the road 
would be Eat-him. 

There is said to be also a saying about Tiparee and Hungry 
House, Downham, and Kilham, but my informant could not 
recollect it. 

I find another country pun upon the name of one of these 
places, in the novel of Mattheio Paxton, 3 vols. London, 1854. 
" It was while we were passing over an old battle-field, where 
our countrymen won a great battle, and killed a Scottish king : 
we were going, indeed, to a place with an ominous name, 
savouring of the old bloody times, which the country folks said, 
indeed, it took from that great battle ; and so in memory of the 
cries of the pursuers as they overtook the flying Scots, ' Down 
■wi' them,' the peaceful farming hamlet of Downham got its 
name."— (Vol. ii. p. 170.) 

There still remains another saying, viz. : 

Crookliouse and Tiparee 
Stand always ajee. 

They are both situated on a slope adjacent to Beaumont Water. 

Crooked Crookham. 

This is a play on the word, which has derived its name from 
a bend of the River Till, near which it is situated. It is a 
village in the pai'ish of Branxton. There is a Presbyterian 
meeting-house at Crookham, of which a legend is told of its 


building. After the ground was marked out, and the founda- 
tions were begun to be laid, somebody moved the marks that 
had been stuck in the ground (and everybody thought they were 
spirits who did it) and put them in another place, making the 
place nearly twice as big as it was intended to have been. At 
the first sacrament a being declared that the place would always 
be cursed with fightings and contentioiis, and then vanished — 
Mattheio Paxton, ii. pp. 173, 176. 

Like Ancroft Bell-rope. 

The bell-rope of the decayed village of Ancroft, in North 
Durham, broke, and the churchwardens held no less than nine 
meetings to deliberate whether to purchase a new or repair the 
old one ; at last it was decided to splice it. Mark, in his Survey, 
1734, says: "The chapel is mean and its steeple remarkable 
for its form (it was a border tower), and being for some time 
the dAvelling-house of one of the curates, called Beuly, for life. 
It is repaired at the expense of the parishioners, except the 
chancel " (p. 72). The place was inhabited by doggers. When 
one of the plagues of whicli tradition speaks on one occasion 
reached the place, those who were seized were carried out to a 
hill-face, which was overgrown with broom, out of which shrub 
a bower or booth was constructed, in which they were placed 
(not without food it is to be hoped) till they died ; and then both 
the booth and the body were burnt. This plague also visited 
Belford, and there the sick also were carried out — in this case 
to an open moor, and when death relieved them they were 
buried in their clothes upon the moor, where the graves are 
still pointed out. This I recently heard from an inhabitant of 

BowsDON Justice. 

According to tradition, at Bowsdon, a Scotsman, shortly 
before the union of the crowns, entered the village one evening 
with a halter in his hand. What could he want with it ? To 


steal a horse, of course. His looks were unfavourable — liis 
replies to divers questions deemed unsatisfactory, and the in- 
habitants, without farther ceremony, hanged him with his own 
halter on an ash-tree at Old Woodside ! — Mackenzie's Hist, of 
Nortlmmherlandy i. p. 381. 

The Gowks of Glendale. 
A short comedy from real life, by R. Story, appears in the New- 
castle Magazine, 1827, pp. 147-151. When the relater appears 
as the tutor in the family, the sister of the farmer's wife runs off 
with the ploughman, after the minister and austere father had 
bargained, the one with the wife, the other with her brother- 
in-law, for her hand, and a portion with it. Near the end 
Clinkverse says, '' There are several Gowks in Glendale besides 
me to-night. She's over the border with Adam saw the Wind.^^ 
From a notice in the June number, one of ^^ the Gowks of 
Glendale, without signing his name, complains of personality in 
that dramatic piece." Some verses that I recently saw quoted 
in a MS. genealogy of the Burrells of Howtel, Millfield, and 
Broom Park, mention " the Gowks of Glendale," as arising from 
an incident in the history of that family. 

Turnip Rhyme. 
About thirty-six years ago, the following verse was inscribed 
on a finger-post, directing the way to Earle, Middleton, 
Middleton Hall, &c. :— 

Traveller, as you pass by, 

Take a turnip if you are dry ; 

One will not hurt you, two will transport you, 

And three will condemn you to die. 

Hedgehope, Cheviot, and Langleyford. 

Hedgehope and Cheviot are pleasant bits of ground, 
But such a spot as Langleyford is scarcely to be found. 

Langleyford is a farm-house on Harthopeburn, at the foot 


of Cheviot and Iledgeliope, placed in a sheltered situation, 
and a charming place for a summer residence. The rhyme 
was repeated by a shepherd on the summit of Hedgehope, 
which is the rival of Cheviot in catching the eye, but by no 
means equal to it either in bulk, height, or variety of features. 

Streets of Doddington. 

Southgate and Sandgate and np (or down) the Cat Raw, 
The Tinkler's Street, and Byegate Ha ! 

The Tinkler's Street is the principal passage, where muggers 
set out their wares for the villagers' inspection. Byegate Ha ! 
was an old farmhouse. This village of yore was only a 
collection of low-roofed thatched cottages, inhabited by farm- 
servants, weavers, and shoemakers. There is a Northumbrian 
pipe-tune still in vogue, entitled " Dorrington lads yet." 

The following rhyme is still popular. It refers to a period 
when the little tradesmen, mostly extinct now, had each a 
" cuddie " to ride to Wooler and elsewhere for marketing and 
on business. [Dorrington is the popular name of the place.] 

Dorrington lads is bonny and Dorrington lads is canny, 
And I'll hae a Dorrington lad, and ride a Dorrington cuddy. 

Of this primitive village, which is situated at the foot of a hill 
called Doddington Dodlaw, at no great distance from the river 
Till, we have a picture as it existed in 1734, from Mark's 
Survey. "It is remarkable for its largeness, the badness of 
its houses and low situation, and perhaps for the greatest 
quantities of geese of any of its neighbourhood, and is distin- 
guished from all the rest in the county except Branxton for 
having the chapel covered with heather and straw." 

Ilka Day Burrell. 

Within living memory the farm of South Doddington was 
tenanted by a family named Burrell, but they left no posterity. 


One of the ancestors was much disliked by the conterminous 
occupants for his pilfering habits exercised at their expense, 
he being a sort of daylight robber. The Scots thieves were a 
grievance, but, as they pounced upon them only now and then, 
their coming could not be calculated upon ; but Burrell's petty 
depredations were so incessant that they demanded constant 
vigilance and precaution. On this account they nicknamed 
him " Ilka Day Burrell." In 1584 " Heiland or Border Theiff" 
was reckoned among things irremediable, and so these Northum- 
brians in the early part of the last century had viewed it. 

Chatton Chalkless, 
Chillingliam Cheeseless, 
Horton Hogless, 
Dorrington Dogless. 

These four places thus denied their characteristics are 
situated on the banks of the river Till. 

The foot of Breamish and the head of Till, 
Meet together at Bewick Mill. 

Breamish and Till are the same river, the part above Bewick 
Bridge being called Breamish, that below it Till. Horsley, 
following Camden, makes the statement, that " near Brumford, 
Brumridge, or Brounrigg, Glen and Bramish unite, and when 
united bear the name of Till ;" but he goes on to say, '* accord- 
ing to the country people, the name of Till begins at Bewick 
Bridge, so that some part of Bramish, before its union with 
Glen, carries the name." (Inedited Contributions to the Hist, 
of Northumherland, p. 60.) Mackenzie also follows Camden. 
Breamish is the Bromic of the Historia de S. Cuthherto ; 
and the Browni, of Harrison's Description of England. 

There will always be a Hall at Bewick.* 
A family named Hall has lived from time beyond memory 
* Arch, ^liana, n.s. vii. p. 92. 


at Old Bewick, and there was still one of the name there when 
this prophetic dictum was communicated to me, many years ago. 

Here's the nail, but where's the hammer, 
That killed John Kay at Lilburn Allots. 

About 1811, in the neighbourhood of Rosedean, a farmhouse, 
two or three miles distant from Lilburn Allers, noted for the 
frequent robberies formerly happening near it, a murder was 
committed upon the highway, unequalled in the annals of 
atrocity. A journeyman mason, who lived at AVooler, in 
returning from his work, in the glare of sunshine, was attacked 
by an assassin, who, after perpetrating his murderous work, 
coolly exchanged shoes with his victim. He then tossed him 
over a dike, and having bent a bramble bush over the body, it 
was some time before it was discovered. Such hellish delight 
had been felt in the performance of this tragedy that (on the 
authority of one of the gentlemen who sat on the coroner's 
inquest, for the statement) the body was perforated by twenty- 
one wounds, of which any of nineteen must have proved 
instantly mortal. It is lamentable to add, that, though the 
miscreant appears to have slept the following night in a field 
of com adjoining the spot, he has never been traced, and the 
blood of the murdered still cries to Heaven for vengeance. — 
(Mason's Border Tour, pp. 206-7, Edin. 1826. Richardson's 
Table Book, iii. pp. 112-113). 

I have gleaned a few facts about this transaction. It was not 
at Rosedean, but on the roadside, near Lilburn Allers, that the 
murder was committed. The road is now changed. A stone 
used to mark the spot It was supposed to have been a soldier 
who did the deed ; a soldier's button was found near the spot, 
and the wounds were bayonet wounds. The victim's name was 
John Kay, and he resided in Wooler. He had that day received 
some money from Mr. Collingwood of Lilburn, and was on his 


journey home. Tlie money and liis watch were taken away. 
There was a belief that it had been done partly through revenge. 
A discharged soldier named Douglas, who belonged to Wooler, 
but who had landed at Tynemouth that very day, was taken 
upon suspicion, but owing chiefly to this circumstance he was 
released. He and his children were avoided by all the towns- 
people, and they always bore the character of an evil race. 
Two years ago I copied Kay's epitaph in Wooler churchyard, 
which fixes the date to have been the 27th of August, 1811, his 
age being 27 years. He was married, and his only son in after 
years emigrated to America. The saying is still common among 
young people. The subject forms the incident of a story in the 
Itinerant's Journal, a forgotten Edinburgh publication, of date 
about 1832-3. 

As lang as grund grows grass 

And knout grows hair 

Roddam of Roddam for evermair. 

Variation of a rhyme given subsequently .— Gr. T. 

Branton and Brandon, Fawdon and the Clinch, 
Ingram and Reavely will put them to a pinch. 

This looks like a portion of a hunting song. — W. Wightman. 

Harrowqate's "White Horse. 

And Crawley now 
Frown'd from its height, with lordly look. 

Hall's Widdrington, a Tale of Hedgley Moor, p. 48. 

Antiquaries conjecture that Crawley may have been a Roman 
station, and some of the earth-works still visible there are ascribed 
to that people ; but the present roofless tower is of more modern 
date, and, in all probability, formed one in the chain of fortresses 
that extended across the country for protection against the 
borderers, and certainly it is most admirably situated for such 



a purpose, as it commands an extensive prospect all round for 
manj miles. Tradition, without being supported by any historical 
authority, says that the square keep or tower was built by a 
famous "Eider" called Crawley; hence the place got its name. 
The tower was at an after period the residence of one of the 
author's ancestors named Harrowgate, of whom many anecdotes 
are yet extant, and amongst others is the following : Mr. Har- 
rowgate possessed a remarkably fine white horse, for he was not 
behind his neighbours in making excursions north of the Cheviot, 
and the then proprietor of the Crawley estate took so great a 
fancy to this beautiful charger, that, after finding he could not 
tempt Harrowgate to sell him for money, he offered him the 
whole of this fine estate in exchange for his horse ; but Mr. H., 
in the true spirit of a border rider, made him this bold reply : 
" I can find lands when I have use for them ; but there is no 
sic a beast (i.e. horse) i' yon side o' the Cheviot, nor yet o' this, 
and I wad na part wi' him if Crawley were made o' gold." How 
little did the value of landed property appear in those days of 
trouble and inquietude, and how much less were the comfort of 
succeeding generations consulted ? The only property of value 
then to a borderer was his trusty arms, and a fleet and active 
horse, and these seem to have been the only things appreciated 
by this old gentleman. — Widdrington, a Tale of Hedgleij Moor, 
in two cantos. By James Hall. Alnwick, Printed by J. 
Graham, Fenkle Street, 1827, royal 8vo., note at page 92. 

Ye're like the Dead Wives o' Eslikgton, no' to lippen to. 

Eslington is a seat of the Earl of Eavensworth, near Whit- 
tingham. The saying is a misapplication or corruption of the 
Berwickshire proverb, " Like the dead wife o' Earlstomi, no' to 
lippen to." 



Ye'ke like Meg Macfarlane, who had a Twenty Hundred 
Minds, whether to go for the Night to Whittingham or 
TO Fishes-stead (or Fishers-stead). 

Meg was a tall stout woman, who sold throughout the country 
the heather-besoms manufactured by her father, Jamie Macfar- 
lane, who during summer dwelt in a peage or divot-hut on 
Belford Moor, where he found sticks for handles in the woods 
for nothing. He had an alternative place of residence likewise 
on Rimside Moor. Jamie, a long, lank man, had his wits about 
him, and had a remarkable knowledge of the Scriptures ; but 
Meg could rarely decide for herself. The question was put to 
her, about mid-afternoon at Fowberry Newhall, where she was 
bound for to-night ? to which she replied as above. Both places 
are about twelve miles distant. Fishers-stead is said to be in the 
Norham district. The saying is frequently adduced for the 
benefit of those who hesitate in coming to a decision. There is 
another saying about Meg or Peg, that, having friends both at 
North Sunderland and Fountain Craig, she sat down on Belford 
Moor, for a long time quite puzzled which she should visit, hence 
the saying, " As sore puzzled as Peg Macfarlane, who didn't 
know whether to go to North Sunderland or to Fountain Craig." 

" You are as bad as the Kebs of Lorbottle, 
Ye'll eat nineteen penny loaves to a pint 
Of ye'll, and cry for more stuffing." 

This is applied to gluttonous eaters. I do not certainly know 
the meaning of Kebs — probably it is a corruption of Cubs, from 
their unlicked condition (Geo. Tate), more likely of Keaves. — 
See elsewhere. 

It is also laid to their charge that they had to go to the door 
to see the raindroj)s falling in the pools to be sure that it was 
actually raining. 

The expression had a proverbial aspect, being " Gang an' look 


at the pools to see if it is raining, like the folks o' Lorbottle." 
Mj informant, who was a native of the place, had also heard the 
expression, " Gaed to catch the moon, like the folks o' Lorbottle." 
See on this a subsequent paragraph. 

Like the Wheat-stack o' Biddleston it had everything to 

DEE (do). 

This wonderful wheals stack was the resource of the future, 
when any domestic want occurred or the payment of any debt 
was required. '' Wait till the wheat-stack is threshed and then 
you'll get it," the good man would say ; but the little rick was 
quite inadequate to sustain the numerous claims dependent on 
it. Biddleston is the seat of what Camden calls, even in his 
time, " the worshipful family " of the Selbies (Horsley). 

As Secure or Strong as Bambrough. 

" That's as secure as Bambrough, Mr. Radley," said he. 
"Did Morton not shake at the terrors of the clause of sale ?" — 
The Mortgagee^ Edin', Cabinet Novels, i. 253, Edin. 1838. 

" Radley assures me the title is as strong as Bambrough Castle, 
and I have no doubt of it." — lb, p. 323. 

BuDLE Cockles, etc. 

These are famous. See Horsley's Northumberland^ p. 30; 
also Oliver's Rambles in Northumberland, p. 207. Muffett, On 
JFoofZ (London, 1655), says codlings are taken in great plenty 
near to Bedwell in Northumberlandshire, p. 155. See also 
Lovell On Animals. 

Laidlaw woitn, seven miles east 
And seven miles west, 
And seven miles north and south ; 
Neither corn nor grass conkl grow 
For the veuom of his nioutb. 

G. T. 



This is a verse of the " Laidley Worm of Spindleston- 
Heugh " converted into a rhyme. The original verse is — 

For seven miles east, and seven miles west, 

And seven miles north and south, 
No blade of grass or corn could grow, 

So venemous was her mouth. 

AuLD Alnwick. 

This epithet occurs in lines inscribed to Thomas Donaldson, 
called 7am q/ Glanton, and affixed to his poems, p. 15. Foems 
chiefly in the Scottish Dialect ; both Humorous and Entertaining. 
By Thomas Donaldson, vreaver, Glanton. Alnwick, Wm. David- 
son, 1809. 

The Earl op Northumberland's three Magi, 

When he was prisoner in the Tower with Sir Walter Raleigh. 
These were Thomas Hariot, " a gentleman of an affable, peaceable 
nature, and well-read in the obscure parts 8f learning," who had 
been with Sir Walter to America, and had been introduced by 
him to the earl, who allowed him a pension of \20l. a-year; 
Robert Hud and Walter Warner, two other mathematicians, 
whom he also had pensioned. When the earl Was committed to 
the Tower these were his constant companions, and were usually 
called Earl of Northumheriandh Three Magi. They had a table 
at his charge and did constantly converse with him and Sir 
Walter Raleigh. — Hewitt's Visit to Remarkable Places, &c. 

The Loyal Little Village of Felton. 

This appellation was bestowed by the Duke of Cumberland 
for the display of the zeal of the inhabitants when he and his 
troops halted at the village, 28th Jan. 1746, on their march to 
subdue the rebel Highlanders under " bonnie Prince Charlie." 



THE Hares i' the Back End." 

Long Framlincrtoii is a village in Felton parish, in proximity 
to Rimside Moor. The inhabitants were given to poaching in 
the autumn, and hence their jocular solicitude for the well-being 
of the hares. 

" The Folk o' Framlington say that none but Whores and 
Blackguards Marry, Honest Folk take each other's Word." 

This saying evinces a degraded state of moral feeling, at some 
period of that place's history, which, it is hoped, has no exist- 
ence now. 

Piper Allan's Breed of Dogs. 

" Crab, the Mugger's dog, grave, with deep-set melancholy 
eyes, as of a nobleman (say the Master of Ravenswood. in dis- 
guise), large visaged, shaggy, indomitable, came of the pure 
Piper Allan's breed. This Piper Allan, you must know, lived 
some two hundred years ago [this is, of course, a joke] in 
Coquet water, piping, like Homer, from place to place, and 
famous not less for his dog than for his music, his news, and his 
songs. The Earl of Northumberland of his day offered the 
piper a small farm for his dog, but after deliberating for a day, 
Allan said, ' Na, na, ma lord, keep yir ferum ; what wad a 
piper do wi' a ferum ? ' From this dog descended Davidson of 
Hyndlee's breed, the original Dandie Dinmont, and Crab could 
count his kin up to him." — Dr. John Brown's Horae Subsecivaej 
2nd S. p. 162. 

Jemmy Allan, " the Duke's piper," was born at Hepple Wood- 
house, in 1734, and died in the House of Correction in Durham, 
November, 13, 1810. Living much on the Coquet he drew part 
of his subsistence from it. So attached was he to it that he com- 
posed two tunes in its honour ; the one, " We'll a' to the Coquet 
and woo," and the other, '^ Saumon Tails up the water." These 


favourite tunes he always played with enthusiastic animation. — 
Maxwell's Border Sketches^ ii. p. 111. Eichardson's 7 able- 
Book, iii. p. 105. 

The red bull of Berrington, 

Gaed oure the bills to HaiTington, 

And knock'd its head atween twae stanes, 

And came milk-white back again. 

A children's rhyme of Coquetdale origin, which shows at .least 
the colour of the old Northumbrian cattle. 

A Morpeth Compliment. 

She gav' me nout i' plenty but her tongue, 
0' that a Morpeth compliment she flung. 

■ — Service's Metrical Legends of Norfhumberland, p. 140. Aln- 
wick, 1834. [See "A Morpeth Welcome," elsewhere.] 

" The Toon's a' wor awn." 

This is an old exclusive saying in Morpeth. On the 6tli of 
April, 1746, it was resolved by the Corporation, "That none 
but a freeman or brother shall exercise the trade of a white- 
smith, saddler, armourer, or hardv/areman within the borough." 
The guild- books contain many similar resolutions respecting 
other trades. — Wilson's Handbook to Morpeth, pp. 90-91. 

Even dwellers in towns that have no corporate rights have a 
prejudice against strangers settling among them. In the small 
town of Wooler parties from a distance who marry town's-maids 
are called " foreigners." Tliey are regarded as interlopers. 

A Morpeth Borderer. 

A native of Morpeth, by lawful calling a packman — a " needy 
adventurer " from the south — was vending his goods in a farm- 
house not many miles from Edinburgh, where an old eccentric 


man was wont to visit, named Saunders Somerville. The mercer 
had words and wares in abundance, but was sadly deficient in 
the article of thought. Saunders again was exactly the oppo- 
site ; and as he had listened with exemplary patience for a long 
time, in the hope that the man's stories would draw to a close, 
he seemed to enjoy a mental satisfaction in getting bare time to 
spear (ask) : " And whar do ye come frae, Billy?" "From 
the boa'der, sir," answered the southron. " I thought sae," 
said Saunders; *' weel, it's a pity." "And wherefore is it a 
pity?" said the man of words, rather angry. " Oh," answered 
Saunders, " because we aye count the selvage the warst pairt o' 
the wab." — The Eev. Dr. Andrew Thomson, of St. George's, 
Edinburgh, is the authority for this depreciatory skit on the 

Never saw the World till he gaed to Morpeth. 

When this was spoken of one who knew only a country life, 
Morpeth was the metropolis of the cattle trade for the north of 
England, a traffic which it has now quite lost. It is even 
deprived of the county jail, which has been transferred to 
Newcastle. Morpeth is now a quiet place, and one hears less 
about it than any other town of equal size in the district, 
but it again appears to thrive, and of late has commenced 
to extend and embellish its public buildings and streets. 

Fenwick Shield (Parish of Stamfordham). 

A calf, with two heads, uttered the following words when 
born, and died immediately after : they relate to Fenwick 
Shield :— 

Twice burnt, once sunk, 

And never more seen. 

The popular belief is that the house is sinking. Some years 
ago part of the kitchen fire-place is said to have sunk a few 


inches. This I can easily believe, for on the south side of the 
house there was a large decoy for wild fowl ; after the water 
was let off, and the land drained, it is very possible that the 
soil would settle down, and cause a shrink in the building. — 
Rev. J. F. Bigge on Local Superstitions at Stamfordham, Tyne- 
side Nat. Field Club, 1861, p. 95. 

The Captain's Walk. 

The Captain's Walk is a footpath from the Heugh bridge, 
going eastward along the Pont side — or side of the river Pont: 
a lady with a baby in her arms walks there and sings — 

Hush a bah, baby, 
Hush a bah bee. 
'Twas Captain Walter 
That killed thou and me. 

lb. p. 95. 

The son of Fair Mabel of Wallington hunted on a mare that 
was never foaled, and with a pack of hounds that were never 

Like himself, they were introduced into the world by the 
Caesarian operation. I had the tradition from one born in the 

" Fair Mabel" was bui-ied in Hexham Abbey ; the date appears 
to be 1539 (Hewitt's Handbook to Hexham Abbey Church, p. 
103). There are modern verses with the title in Richardson's 
Table Booh, Legendary Division ; originally from Bell's Rhymes 
of Northern Bards, pp. 147 — 149, Newcastle, 1812. 

The Coal-Hole of the North, i.e. Newcastle. 
Hewitt's Visit to Remarkable Places, p. 310. 

" The Kichmokd Shilling." 

An obnoxious tax on the coals of the river Tyne. — Table 
Book, iv. p. 82. 


The Spring Fleet 
Of collier vessels from the Tyne. 

Geordie and Jamie. 

Mariners term a collier vessel from the Tyne a Geordie, and 
from the Wear a Jamie. At sea they can distinguish the one 
from the other by the different colours of their bows, sides 
sterns, &c. — Padeutes, in Hogg's Instructor, ii. p. 316. See 
afterwards, pp. 70, 71. 

The Grand Allies. 

The " Grand Allies " were a company of gentlemen, consist- 
ing of Sir TJiomas Liddell (afterwards Lord Ravensworth), the 
Earl of StratLmore, and Mr. Stuart Wortley (afterwards Lord 
Wharncliffe) , the lessees of Killingworth Collieries. — Smiles's 
Life of George Stephenson, p. 55. 

Oh, horrid deed, 

To kill a man for a pig's head. 

This Tynemouth saying and legend is omitted by Mr. 
Denham. There is a full notice of it in Richardson's Table 
Booh. The stone on which it was inscribed is supposed to 
have been one of the slabs erected to indicate the boundaries of 
the sanctuary. 

The Betsy Cains. 

Feb. 17, 1827.— The Betsy Cains, of Shields, having sailed 
from that port with a cargo for Hambro', met with a heavy 
gale, and was obliged to bear up for Shields Harbour, but 
when on Tynemouth bar she struck, and was afterwards 
driven upon the rocks, near the Spanish battery. This remark- 
able vessel would seem to have been built about the commence- 
ment of the seventeenth century, for, before its conclusion, tradi- 


tion reported that even then she was " an old ship, but a lucky 
and fast sailer." Before the 1 st of March she went to pieces. In 
this forlorn and melancholy condition she presented an apt 
emblem of fallen greatness, and exacted great public attention ; 
indeed, at all times she was regarded with surprising interest, 
and wherever she lay the sailors crowded to see her — the more 
so, probably, from a memorable prophecy said to be connected 
with the fate of this venerable ship, viz., that **' the Catholics 
would never get the better while the Betsey Cains was afloat," 
and now that her hour was come, can our hardy mariners, as 
remarkable for their superstition, be wondered at, when they 
regarded the loss of the Betsy Cains as a serious injury to the 
Protestant cause? — Richardson's Table Book, iii. pp. 339-341. 

OviNGHAM Fair. 

Ovingham Fair is on the 26th of Apx'd and 25th of October. 
The day after the October fair is called " Gwonny Jokesane's 
day" (why so is not known), and has been so called since the 
recollection of the oldest living. A mayor is elected, and 
carried in procession. On his advancing, his M'orship begins 
thus : ''A yes ! twe times a yes ! an' three times a yes ! If 
ony man, or ony man's man, lairds, loons, lubberdoons, dog- 
skelpers, gabbrigate swingers, shall commit a parliament as 
a twarliament, we, in the township o' Ovingham, shall hev his 
legs, an heed, tied to the cog-wheel, till he say yonce, twice, 
thrice prosper the fair o' Ovingham, on Gwonny Jokesane's 
day." — Jackson the Painter, in Hone's Every Day Book, and 
see Table Book, Leg. Div. iii. p. 198, &c. 

I've been as far south as ye've been north. — A Wooler saying. 

Canny Northumberland. 

The phrase occurs in Chronicles of the Canongate, 1st S. li. 
p. 206. 


The Bold Borderers. 

And bad him call the borderers bold, 
And hold with him in readiness. 

Battle of Flodden, p. 6. 

The Stout Northumbrians. 

" And if thou need Northumberland," 

Quoth he, " there be strong men and stout, 

That will not stick, if need they stand. 
To fight on horseback, or on foot." 

lb. p. 4. 

At the battle among the broom at Millfield, 1513, Sir Wil- 
liam Bulwer 

" Two hundred men himself did lead. 
To him there came the borderers stout." 

lb. p. 19. 

" Formerly, the NorthumberIan(l Militia was, to a great 
extent, formed of the peasantry who lived in the open country ; 
and at the termination of the war in 1815 it was one of the 
finest bodies of men in the service, and, when ranged in line, 
stood on more ground, from the breadth of the men across the 
shoulders, than any other regiment." — Mr. George Tate, in 
Berwickshire Naturalists' CluVs Proceedings, vii. p. 135. 

Border Marriages. 

" The borderers were very particular in forming connections. 
A stout man would not marry a little woman, were she ever so 
rich ; and an Englishman was prohibited by the March laws 
from marrying a Scotch woman, were she ever so honest." — 
Dalyell's Fragments. 

Manly strength is prized among the Northumbrian shepherd 
families at the present day. In the district between the Cheviot 


Hill and the head of the Coquet, a young man was, not a great 
many years since, courting a lass named Hedley, whom he 
wished to marry. " Let him in among us," said the mother, 
when the proposal came to be deliberated, "he's a grand 

The Northumbriak's Burr. 

* * * * The Northumbrian dialect is a sort of mixture of 
Lowland Scotch and north-country English, pervaded by the 
strong hurr peculiar to Northumberland. It is related of a 
Scotch lass who took service in Newcastle, that when asked how 
she got on with the language, replied, she managed it very well 
by " swallowing the r's, and gien them a bit chow i* the middle." 
— Smiles's Life of George Stephenson, p. 3. 

I note as other references to the Northumberland burr, Hogg's 
Instructor, 2nd S. ii. p. 142 ; and Scots Mag. 1804, pp. 179, 180, 
181; and 1802, pp. 959, 960. 

English Koguks. 

It is not above seventy years since a Scottish borderer, who 
had left the fair at Wooler in company of an Englishman, and 
shaken hands at parting, felt indignant with himself for having 
travelled in peace with ^ false Southron. He therefore returned, 

and saying, " Take that, you English rogue," struck his 

late companion to the ground, and walked triumphantly away. 
— Mason's Kelso Records, p. 112, 

Anglicus est angelus, cui nemo credere potest ; 
Cum tibi dicit ave, tanquam ab hoste cave. 

Forduni Scotichron. i. p. 22, and ii. 309. 

'•' Away, lubbard ; away blewcoit ; I defye the whyte cott ; 
dyrt upon your teeth," This was a reproach cast out by the 


besieged against the English soldiers, at the siege of Edinburgh, 
March 1, 1571. — See Bannatyne's Transactions in Scotland, 
p. 99. 

The English soldiers had blue dresses. — See Stow. 

" England is our auld enemies." — Bannatyne, p. 168. 

This was a common expression at that period by party writers. 

The ViLii Death of the Englishmen. 

A great pestilence visited England from 1348 to 1357. It 
began in Loudon, about the feast of All Saints, 1348. " Of the 
common people, together with Religious and Clearkes, there 
dyed an innumerable sort, for no man but God onely knew how 
many. What time the pestilence had wasted all England, the 
Scots greatly rejoycing, mocked and sware of times by the vile 
death of the Englishmen ; but the sword of God's wrath slew 
and consumed Scots in no lesse numbers then it did the other." 
— Stow's Annales, p. 246. This plague having reached the 
borders in 1349, caused the Scots to suspend their animosity. 
Even in 1368 many tenements In the north of England lay 
waste, owing to this great calamity and the Invasion of the 
Scots, as appears by Inquisitions. 

Traitor Scots. 

When the Scots delivered up Charles I. to the Parliament for 
payment of their arrears, " the English nation reproached them 
with tlieir greed and treachery In the popular rhyme " — 

Traitor Scot 

Sold his king for a groat. 
Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, 2nd S. i. p. 319. 

Poor Scot 

Seil'd thy king for a groat. 

Scots Mag. 1806, p. 936. 


Tynedale Snatchers. 

Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock 
At his lone gate and prove the lock. 

Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

The little Devil should be first exposed to the great Devil. 

Siward (of Danish origin) was promoted to the Earldom of 
Northumberland by Edward the Confessor, on the advice of his 
great men, that, for the better protection of his kingdom against 
the northern invaders, the little devil should he first exposed to the 
great devil; meaning that Siward. should have charge of that 
part of England which was most likely first to be invaded by 
the Danes. — Kidpath's Bord. Hist. p. 54. 

Chevy Chase. 

Before the gates of Newcastle the famous Hotspur was un- 
horsed by the gallant Douglas, and also lost his " staffe." The 
spear and pennon of Percy were carried by Montgomery, his 
captor at Otterburn, to Eglinton Castle, and when a late duke 
asked their restoration the Earl of Eglinton replied, " There is 
as good lea-ground here as on Chevy Chase — let Percy come 
and take them." — Jeffrey's Roxburghshire^ ii. p. 239. 

'' As long as Chevy Chase " is a popular expression in Ber- 
wickshire for a tedious song. 

Widdrington and his Stumps. 

Master Linklater says to Master Kilderkin, who had not been 
sufficiently active in catering provisions for royalty, '' Do not 
tell me of the carrier and his wain, and the hen-coops coming 
from Norfolk with the poultry ; a loyal man would have sent an 
express-^ho would have gone upon his stumps like Widdrington." 
— Fortunes of Nigel^ iii. p. 72. 


Till down he fell, yet falling fought, 
And, being down, still laid about ; 
As Widdrington, in doleful dumps, 
Is said to fight upon his stumps. 


The reference in both is to the modern version of the ballad 
of Chevy Chase — 

For Witherington needs must I wayle, 

As one in doleful dumps ; 
For when his leggs were smitten off, 

He fought upon his stumps. 

The older version is much finer. 


The first person whom Edward III. made Sheriff of Rox- 
burgh was the celebrated [Sir John] Coupland, who took 
David II. prisoner at the battle of Durham. He was sheriff in 
1347. Coupland held the sheriffship in Northumberland from 
1350 to 1355. Coupland was celebrated among the men of 
Northumberland as the Valiant Knight. He died in 1364, when 
Alan de Strother was appointed in his stead. Jeffrey's Rox- 
burghshire, ii. pp. 14 and 16 ; Wallis's Hist. Northumberland, 
pp. 415, 416; Ayloffe's Calendar, p. 108; Chalmer's Caledonia, 
ii. p. 97, note. 

The Tek Towns of Glendale. 

In August 5, 1557, the lord James, and the lord Robert, 
the lord Home, warden of the east marches, and several other 
nobles, with a considerable force, and some ordnance, entered 
Northumberland by the dry marsh between Wark and Cheviot, 
intending to take the castle of Ford and destroy the ten towns 
of Glendale. — Ridpath's Bord. Hist. p. 586. 


Flodden Edge. 

" We were tauld," says Sir Mungo Malagrowther, an old 
Scottish attendant of the Court of James I., " the loon threw 
himself mto the Thames in a fit of desperation. There's enow 
of them behind — there was mair tint on Flodden Edge." — For- 
tunes of Nigel, ii. p. 76. This is equivalent to "mair fell at 

The Busy Week. 

While James I. — " gentle Jamie " — was progressing south, 
the borderers, disliking idleness " when the Queen's death was 
knowne," commenced operations on both sides, "the which was 
called the busie week." Lord Hume received instructions to 
repress them, and he appears to have made an excellent selec- 
tion in appointing " Lord Cranstone to bee captayne of the 
guard ; who did so much by his care and vigilance that a num- 
ber of outlawes were brought to the place of execution, where, 
after lawful assize, they had a reward of their past follies. 
Their names and surnames," quoth John Monipennie, " for 
brevity we omit. Some of them who might have lived upon 
their rente, if so they could bee content, but so prone were 
they to inbred vyse, received from their forefathers, and 
drunken in their adolescencie, they never leaft oflF their first 
footsteps until they runne headlong to their owne destruction." 
— {SummariBj ^-c. printed at Brittaine's Burse, by John Bridge, 
1612.) Maxwell's Hillside and Border JSketches, i. pp. 213-214. 

The Foul Eaid ; i.e., The Dishonourable Eaid. 

The inroad of Albany into England in 1417, when he Avas 
compelled to retire before the forces of the Dukes of Exeter and 
Bedford. — Scott's Scotland, i. p. 251. See Pinkerton's Hiift. 
Scot. i. p. 98. 


Thk Dirtin Raid. _^ 

Another successless expedition of the governor in 1422. — See 
Ridpath, Bord. Hist. p. 388. 

The Devil's Road — The III Rode. 

The name given by the Scots to the raid of 1513, when 
defeated among the broom of Milfield Plain. 

In August month this broil befell, 
Wherein the Scots lost so much blood 

That mournfull when the tale they tell. 
They call it now " The Devil's Road." 

Flodden Field, p. 21. 

In this incursion, defeated by Sir Edward Bulmer, Lord 
Hume lost 500 or 600 of his men, 400 prisoners, and his 
banner. '^ This by the Scots was called the III Rode.''^ — Baker's 
Chronicle, p. 260. Modern writers, unwitting of the significa- 
tion of the word rode^ road, or raid, explain it as applied to the 
road through Milfield Plain by which the Scots fled from their 
ill-fated enterprise. 

In one place of his Annales, p. 432, Stow makes what on this 
mistaken signification would be rather a serious undertaking, 
viz., that King James " caused his subjects to make roades into 
English borders." 

" A Warden Raid," or " Day op Trewes," on the Border. 
Darcy's Good Fortune. 

In October, 1532, Henry VIII. sent Sir Arthur Darcy to 
Berwick with 300 tall men for the defence of the English 
border. The Scots soon after Darcy's arrival, to show that 
they were not afraid of him, made an inroad by the Middle 
Marches as far as Fowberry; in which inroad they burnt 



several villages. Not content with doing this mischief thej 
boasted of it, saying that Darcy had brought them good fortune, 
and that he and Angus slept icell at Berwick. — llidpath's Bord. 
Hist. p. 532. 


This, says Wm. Brockie, is a Northumbrian name, from Had 
away ! a term of encouragement used by the clan in their forays 
or raids. — FclTcs of Shields, p. 67. 

The Northumberland Tartan. 
The check of the cloth of shepherds' plaids is so called. 

Northumbrian Tunes or Songs that relate to Places, &c. 

" Chevy-Chase." 

" Sir John Fenwick's the Flower among them." — Richard- 
son's Table Book, i. p. 334. 

*' Fenwick of Bywell's away to Newmarket." 

" Show me the way to Wallington." 

" Dorrington Lads yet." 

" Felton Lonning." — Farrier's Poems, p. 101 ; seeMhT/mes on 
Felton Lonning. 

" The Midford Galloway." By Thomas Whittle. " To the 
tune of Banting Roaring Willy." — Bell's Rhymes of Northern 
Bards, pp. 175—180. 

" Wylam away." John Jackson, the engraver, mentions 
this in his account of Ovingham fair. 

" We'll a' to the Coquet an' woo." 

Names of Local Regiments. 

'' The White Stocking Regiment." A number of volunteers 
in Newcastle, in 1740, who associated for the preservation of 
the peace of the town. " They consisted of some middle-aged 
gentlemen of different professions, but the most part of young 


men, several of whom were merchants' apprentices, and on 
account of their wearing white stockings were called and are 
still remembered by the name of the White Stocking Regiment. 
— ^Richardson's Table Booh, i. p. 400. 

'* The Cheviot Legion." A body of volunteers, whose capital 
was Wooler. At the time of the " False Alarm " these were 
marched as far as Whittingham. 

" Tlie Coquetdale Rangers " were raised in the vale of the 

" The Durham Rangers." All that I know of this is that 
there was a dancing tune of this name, and the only words 
sung to it were — 

" He's away wi' the bonnie Durham Rangers, ! " 

Northumbrian Productions. 
Newcastle coals ; Tweed and Tyne salmon ; Hexham glovers, 
Hexham gloves, and Hexham tans (strong gloves of fine 
leather) ; Cheviot sheep ; Cheviot honey ; Alnwick tobacco ; 
Scremerston lime ; Budle cockles ; Boulmer or Boomer gin ; 
Glanton greens, a particularly good kind of gooseberry ; Bed- 
lington terriers. 

Natural Objects. 

" St. Cuthbert's Ducks " [Somateria mollisima), which breed 
on the Fame Islands, are so called from St. Cuthbert, their 
patron ; in Berwickshire they are still called " Cud-doos," i.e. 
Cuthbert's pigeons. " St. Cuthbert's Beads " are fragments 
of fossil encrinites, &c. " Askew's Ducks," or " Pallinsburn 
Ducks," are the black-headed gulls {Larus ridihundus) which 
breed in Mr. Askew's lake, in front of his residence at Pallins- 
burn. "Scremerston Crows" are the grey- backed or hoodie 
crow {Corvus comix), because they frequent the coast there- 
abouts in winter and spring. 



" New Chape] Flower " {Orobanche ma jus ?) " Orohanche, 
Chokewede, growetli in many places in England, both in the 
northe countre besyde Morpethe, whereas it is called our Lady 
of New Chapellis flour, and also in the south countre, a lytle 
from Shene, in the broom-closes." " This herbe is called about 
Morpeth, in Northumberland, new-chappell floure, because it 
grew in a chappel there, in a place called Bottel (Bothal) 
Bankes, where as the unlearned people dyd worshippe the 
Image of synt Mary, and reckened that the herbe grewe in that 
place by the virtue of that Image." — Turner's Herbal, 1564, 
1566. Part ii. fol. 71 ; Part i. fol. 88. 

" Framlington Clover" {Prunella vulgaris), prevalent in 
stiff clayey soils above the coal, near Long Framlington, 
Northumberland. About Hauxley, in the same county, it is 
termed " Jamie Hedley's Clover," from the following circum- 
stance: — Hedley's father wanted to take a farm then vacant, 
but being blind sent out his son Jamie to report on its capa- 
bilities. Jamie remarked one field in particular very green 
and closely planted with herbage, and returning to his father 
says, " Feyther, yon's grand land ; it's grown full o' clover.'^ 
The " clover " was the weed, indicative of sterility. In Ber- 
wickshire it is known as ^' Poverty Pink." 

Lang Lowick. 

The epithet lang is applied to this scattered village, which is 
situated on a ridge, and at a distance appears to be unnaturally 
prolonged. There are, or have been, other lengthy hamlets or 
steadings in Northumberland, e. g. Long Edlingham, Long 
Horsley, Long Framlington, Long Benton, Longhirst, Langton, 
Longridge, Langshaws, Langlee, Langleyford, Langley, Lang- 
dike-head, Langdikes, etc. 



Speaking of the laziness of the Coquetdale " hinds " (plough- 
men) it was said — You may know a Coquetdale man and a 
Redesdale man by their conduct in this respect, that the Coquet- 
dale man sits on the top of his loaded cart, but the Redesdale 
man walks alongside of it. 

The Cubs of Lorbottle. 

They got a weather-glass, and seeing the mercury fall, they 
hid it, and put out tubs to see if it was raining, as they could 
not decide otherwise. 

The Wheat-stack of Biddleston. 

Every wheat-head had a craver, like the wheat-stack of 




" Brave Durham I behold, that stately seated town." 


'Tis certain that the Dun Cow's milk 
Clothes all the Prebends' wives in silk ; 
But this, indeed, is plain to me. 
The Dun Cow's self is a shame to see. 

The lec^end of the Dun Cow, in connection with our citv, must 
be familiar to every inhabitant of the bishoprick. 

The old sculpture of the Dun Cow and the two females was 
truly a sorry affair, and, as the rhyme sings or says, " a shame 
to see"; yet no more so than the rude rhymes of the critic. 
Sir Cuthbert Sharp, in his Bishoprick Garland, says that these 
lines are ancient ; but the mention of the prebends' wives tells 
me that it cannot be older than three centuries ; probably 
nothing near so much. The original figures were erected 
during the episcopacy of Ralph Flambard, at the commence- 
ment of the twelfth century, in grateful remembrance and com- 
memoration of the milkmaid, who so fortunately, in the great 
perplexity of the wandering monks, directed them to Dunholme, 
where St. Cuthbert was to rest until the day of resurrection. 
The present sculpture, which ornaments the west corner tower 
of the eastern transept of Durham cathedral church, Avas 
chiselled by John Purday, a mason living in the South Bailey. 


I AM THE Bishop op Durham's Fool : Pray whose Fool are you ? 

During the abode of King Charles I. in the Castle of Durham 
(mdclxiii) Dicky Pearson, the bishop's fool (and the last indi- 
vidual, it is supposed, v;ho was maintained by our bishops in 
that capacity) , seeing the Earl of Pembroke richly and fantas- 
tically dressed, accosted him very brotherly, " Sir, I am the 
bishop of Durham's fool. Whose fool are you ?" 

A tradition is still current that one of the splendid robes 
which King Charles wore at the abbey was embroidered with 
the history of David, bearing in his hand Goliath's head. — 
Surtees's Hist, of Durham. 


It would appear from the above that the bishops of Durham 
have been proverbial for their riches from a very early period. 
In the thirteenth century a piece of cloth, richly embroidered, Avas 
offered for sale, but was held up at so high a price that even the 
nobles themselves either refused or durst not buy. This coming 
to the ears of Anthony Bek, then bishop of Durham, he went 
immediately and purchased it, and ordered that it should be 
cut into cloths for his sumpter-horses. It is likewise recorded 
that at one time in London our bishop gave xl s. for forty fresh 

Thomas Ruthal, who was bishop of Durham in the reigns of 
Henry VII. and VIII., was considered the richest subject in 
Britain, and singularly unfortunate in the mistake he made in 
delivering the hohe of his own private affairs to the aspiring 
Cardinal Wolsey, instead of the one he had written on The State 
of the Kingdom, by the desire of his Sovereign, whereby the 
Cardinal effected his ruin, and stepped into his bishoprick. 

As Peppery as Durham Mustard. 

A proverbial saying extremely applicable to persons of hot 
temperament, especially those of the feminine gender. 


The cathedral church of Durham is dedicated to St. Cuthbert, 
and that of York to St. Peter. 

Stowpe, Cuddle, and bowe thy brie, 

To Peeres of Yorke our Legate borne ; 

Look well a bout, and take good e'e, 
Lest now tliy cause be quite forlorne ; 

Stowpe, good Cuddie, and bowe thy knee. 

Lest thunderbolts beginne to flee. 

These verses are said to have been made by " a learned and 
pleasaunt poet, aboute the yeer of our Lorde mcccx, or there- 
abouts, when the see of Yorke beganne to arme themselves 
against the church of Durham, with power legatle." — Mickle- 
toii's MSS i. p. 315. 

In the year MCCXCiii, or iiii, the archbishop of York was 
committed to the Tower for his contempt of the king in ex- 
communicating the bailiff of the bishop of Durham. 

A BuTTERBY Church-goer. 

To hear many of the inhabitants of the city of Durham talk, 
a stranger would suppose that the hamlet of Butterby was in 
possession of a bond fide religious edifice ; the fact is, that in the 
slang of Durham (for the modern Zion has its slang as well as 
the modern Babylon) a Butterby church-goer is one who does 
not frequent any clmrcli at all ; and when such an one is asked, 
" What church have you attended to-day ?" the customary 
answer is, " I have been attending service at Butterby." — See 
Hone's Table Book, i. col. 368-9. 

The Golden Prebends op Durham. 

So called owing to the extreme richness or value of the 
yearly income arising from the lands attached to many of the 
stalls in that cathedral church. 


Run away Doctor Bokanki [or Bocanki]. 

The civil broils which filled England with distraction under 
the reign of Charles I. greatly affected this Palatinate. A 
war with Scotland took place, and its army entered England 
on the xxth of August, mdcxl, and marched to Newburn, on 
the banlvs of the Tyne. A skirmish ensued, for it could not be 
called a battle, and the Scots army gained the pass. A panic 
seized the whole country. As for the city of Durham, it 
became a depopulated place ; not a shop, for iv days after the 
fight took place, was opened, and not one house in ten that had 
either man, woman, or child in it ; not one bit of bread to be 
got for money ; the country people durst not come to market, 
which made the city in a sad condition for want of bread. Dr. 
Walter Balcanqual, dean of Durham, fled away with extreme 
precipitation, because he understood the Scots gave out that 
tliey would seize upon him as an incendiary for writing the 
king's Large Declaration against them. All the rest of the 
clergy of Durham ran away also. 

Bokanki, it would appear, was a by-name applied to our 
dean during his life. The saying is now used by the school- 
boys and young collegians of Durham to any of their mates and 
chums who are guilty of a mean or cowardly act. — Surtees's 
Hist, of Durham^ i. p. xcvi. 

* The monks of Durham made fat kail 
On Fridays when they fasted, 
&c. &c. &c. 

In this particular the Benedictines of Durham would not be 
singular; it might also be said, no doubt with equal truth, of 
the monks of Finchale, Wearmouth, Jarrow, Lindisfarne, and 

* In the original these and the other rhymes are in small capitals. 


every other well-endowed religious house in the kingdom ; and 
who could blame them ? Not I, truly, for there is much truth 
contained in the good old northern proverb — 

A tume [that is, empty] belly makes a lazy back. 

Sir Walter Scott gives the following stanza as the old words 
of " Galashiels," a favourite Scottish air : — 

the Monks of Melrose * made good kale 

On Fridays when they fasted ; 
They wanted neither beef nor ale 

As long as their neighbours' lasted. 

See Chambers' Pop. Rhymes Scot. 3rd ed. 1847, p. 42 (edition 
1870, p. 244); also Allan Kamsay's Evergreen, Edin. 1761, 
ii. p. 239. 

York has the Highest Eaok, but Durham has the Deepest 


Though York be graced with a higher honour, Durham is 
the wealthier see. Tobias Matthew is reported to have said, on 
his resigning Durham for York, that he did it " for lack of 
grace." In the sixteenth century pun and quibble were in high 
esteem, and a man was to expect no preferment, either in 
Church or State, who was not a proficient in that kind of wit. 
" I like the crazy old bishop's ' nolo episcopari ' on the subject 
cf his York preferment," quoth Sir Walter Scott. 

Hac sunt in fossa 
Bedee Venerabilis ossa. f 

* It is properly the monks of Fail (in Ayrshire), 
f Also in large letters in original. To make it correct it should 
be Bedae. The correct reading is in Jackson's Pulpit Beminiscences, 
p. 32, thus — 

Hac sunt in fossa, 

Bedse venerabilis ossa. — See the legend, I.e. pp. 31-2. 


This faithful servant of God was born at or in the neighbour- 
hood of Jarrow, a.d. dclxxii, and died the xxvi day of May, 
Dccxxv. The name of Bede has been preserved with the 
honour which he so worthily obtained through many later 
generations. His chair, an old massive oaken seat, is still at 
Jarrow ; his bones were conveyed to Durham, where the 
princely bishop, Hugh Pudsey, nephew of K. Stephen, en- 
closed them in a casket of gold and silver in that part of the 
cathedral called the Galilee. An altar-tomb is now raised over 
the place, with the above inscription restored to record his 
worth, which may be thus translated : — 

Here in this grave rest the bones of Venerable Bede. Or, 
Here beneath these stones, lie Venerable Bede's bones. 

Durham is built upon Seven Hills. 

Viewed from the north, the city of Durham seems to be 
scattered over a multitude of irregular hills ; and we discover 
parts of the town, the castle, and the churches, through several 
valleys in one point of view, so that they appear like so many 
distinct places. The west front of the castle is seen on the 
summit of a steep and deep rock, with some parts of the 
cathedral ; and the street of St. Giles, as if totally unconnected 
with the rest of the town, is spread over the brow of a distant 
eminence. The hollow passes among the hills on the north- 
west of the city afford beautiful and pictm'esque prospects. In 
fine, its situation and figure being so peculiar have occasioned 
its being emphatically called the " English Sion." 

Hegg, who wrote the legend of St. Cuthbert, says in reference 
to Durham, " He that hath scene the situation of this citty 
liath seene the map of Sion, and may save a journey to Jeru- 
salem." Hegg wrote his book in mdcxxvi. 

Durham has also been whimsically compared to a crab, the 
market-place representing the body and the streets the claws. 


Rhyme on Sir John Duck. 

On Duck the butchers shut the door, 

But Heslop's daughter Johnny wed ; 
In mortgage rich, in offspring poor, 

Nor son nor daughter crown'd his bed. 

Sir John Duck, the richest burgess in the civic annals of 
Durham, was bred a butcher under John Heslop, in defiance 
of the trade and mystery of butchers, in whose books appears 
the following entry: — "That he {i.e. Heslop) forbear to sett 
John Duck on work in the trade of butcher." Duck, however, 
grew rich, and married the daughter of his master, and even- 
tually was created a baronet by James II. 

Tradition tells that after he was cast out by ilie butchers of 
Durham, and in a state of extreme despondency, a raven flying 
over his head let fall a piece of silver, which lucky incident made 
a strong impression on his mind. With the money he bought 
a calf; this calf with care and perseverance ere long became a 
cow ; the cow became a herd of cattle, and in the course of a 
few years he realised a splendid fortune. He built himself a 
noble mansion in Silver Street, and endowed a hospital at 
Lumley, probably the place of his birth. His death took place 
xxvi August MDCXCI, and he was buried beside his wife at the 
church of St. Margaret, on Monday, the thirty-first day of the 
same month. Of his birth, parentage, and education, nothing 
is known. — See Ducks, p. 49. 

Here lies Cooper all alone, 
Matthew is dead, the base is gone. 

Said to have been written on old Matthew Cooper, clerk, 
M.A., one of the petit canons and singing-men of the cathedral 
church of Durham. 


As Cunning as a Crafty Cradock. 

It appears to be more than probable that John Cradock, vicar 
of Gainford, mdxciv, might have given rise to the proverb. 
He was a high commissioner for Durham, a justice of the peace, 
the bishop's spiritual chancellor, and vicar-general. He con- 
founded the jurisdiction of the above offices, and made one 
to assist the other. He took bribes as a magistrate, and did 
numerous other underhand practices. Mr. Walbran, in his 
History of Gainford, records a few of his crafty misdeeds. — 
Vide p. 82, &c. 

Mr. Ray gives the above proverb thus : "As cunning as a 
Cradock, &c.," but as to what is included in the "et cetera" 
I am at a loss to imagine. 

Khyme on Barnabas Hutchinsoh. 

Under this thorn tree 
Lies honesfc Barnabee : 
But where he is gone, 

To Heaven or Hell, 
I freely do own 

I cannot tell. 

" Honest Barny " was a proctor of Durham, and died the 
xviiith of March, mdcxxxiv. His remains were interred 
beneath the shadow of an ancient thorn. 

Black- Boy and Billy-row, 
Sunny-Side and Shiney-row, 
"White Smocks and Mally Bow. 

The first five villages, &c., are situated in the vicinities of 
Bishop Auckland, the city of Durham, and Sunderland. Mally- 
Bow is, I take it, the corrupted familiar of ]\Iary-le-Bow, the 
name of one of the churches of Durham. 



An inelegant maledictory expression, almost peculiar to the 
city of Durham, parallel with the equally elegant canny New- 
castle phrase, — 

Go to Shields ! 

And fish for eels, — 

which we occasionally hear varied to "And shave Ducks/' 
We have also, in the south of England, " Go to Bath !" and in 
Scotland '' Go to Fruchie ! " the whole of which are pretty 
much on a par with the still more impious one of "Go to the 
devil and. shake yourself." North Biddick, near Chester-le- 
Street, is celebrated in the mythology of the bishoprick for 
being situated near unto the Worm Hill, around, which the 
most famous dragon, serpent, or worm of Lambton, is said to 
have " lapped itself six times, leaving vermicular traces, of 
which grave living witnesses depose that they have seen the 
vestiges." — See Surtees's History of Durham. 

Durham, the only fikished town in England. 

Neither addition, alteration, or improvement is said to take 
place here, for, like its ancient prototype (Jerusalem), it re- 
mains in much the same condition in which it appeared many 
centuries ago — or rather, if possible, perhaps worse ! [This 
cannot be said of it in the year of grace, 1880 !] 

Hugh Pudsey, the Young Earl and Old Bishop. 

When Pudsey, bishop of Durham, had begun to rue his vow 
of going on a crusade, King Richard, more desirous of the 
bishop's gold than his services, proposed to dispense with his 
vow, and offered to appoint him one of his regents during his 
absence. Our bishop's vanity now kindled into a blaze, and he 
readily accepted the offer. On which the king applied to bor- 


row the money which the prelate had collected, and this brought 
on a bargain for the purchase of the earldom, wapentake, and 
manor of Sadberge, to be annexed to the see of Durham for 
ever, together with the earldom of Northumberland for life, for 
which the bishop was to pay the sum of 11,000^ The youth- 
ful king, when he girt the bishop with the military sword, could 
not forbear his derision of the inconsistency of the prelate's 
character, and turning to his nobles, merrily laughing, said : 
" Am not I cunning, and my craftes-master, that can make a 
yonge earle of an oulde bishoppe ?" — [Lambarde styles Pudsey 
^' the joly byshop of Durham."] 

A Ddnelm op Crab. 

A piece of rather aunciente cookery of a very gouty character. 
Dr. Hunter says that it takes its name from an old city in the 
north of England, where '*good eating" and " good drinking" 
are considered synonymous terms. 

Ye're like the Bishop's Mother, ye're nivver content, nowther 
full nor fasting. 

Upon the elevation of Robert de Insula to the See of Dur- 
ham, A.D. MCCLXXiv, he gave to his aged mother, who was still 
living a life of poverty and privation in her island home of 
Lindisfarne, now Holy Island, what he conceived an ample 
provision and honourable establishment. He surrounded her 
with men-servants and maid-servants suitable to her income. 
But the poor old widow, instead of being elated with at least 
her own good fortune, became so much the more wretched and 
unhappy in proportion as the number of her household servants 
were increased and her means enlarged. The bishop shortly 
atterwards went to pay his parent a visit at the place of his 
nativity ; when, to his great grief, he found the ancient lady, 
his mother, in not only a very sorrowful mood, but also in a 


very ill- humour to boot. He asked, " And how fares my sweite 
mother ? " " Never worse !" quoth she. ^' And what ails thee 
or troubles thee ? Hast thou not men and women and attend- 
ants sufficient ? " " Yea," quoth she, " and more than enow. I 
say to one ' go ' and he runs ; to another ' come hither, fellow,' 
and the varlet falls down on his knees ; and in short all things 
go on so abominably smooth that my heart is bursting within 
me for something to spite me, and pick a quarrel withal." This 
unhappiness still increasing, she ere long begged to be restored 
to her solitary life with a moderate competency. 

This is all consistent with reason and daily experience. Her 
habits had too long been formed, and she was too far advanced 
in years, to lay them aside and begin to ape the manners of a 

He's a Durham M^n ; he's Knocker Kneed. 

From the effects, I suppose, of his grinding mustard with his 
knees. Durham at one period was celebrated for its manufac- 
ture of mustard. [See Saying on the Seven Celebrities of Dur- 
Jidniy p. 55.] The saying given in the text is noticed by Grose 
in his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. It is also a common 
remark on a " knocker " or in-kneed person that " He grinds 
mustard with his knees." 

The City of Priests. 

For many centuries Durham has been proverbial for the 
number of priests within its walls. This may readily be 
accounted for both in its ancient and modern establishments ; 
originally as the seat of the quondam priory, and in the present 
day of the cathedral church of the diocese. Of late years its 
celebrity has been still farther increased by the foundation of a 
regular university establishment, which may God bless and 
prosper as long as the city exists ! 



Coals are occasionally, still proverbially, so-called in th« city 
of Durham, from Sir John Duck, the famous butcher and 
merchant ; but why, I wot not. However, it is possible our 
" knight of the cleaver " might be the owner of the colliery 
from whence the Durhamites were chiefly supplied with fuel at 
that period of time. — {See rhyme on Sir John Duck, p. 44.) 

The City of Durham is famed for Seven things : Wood, "Water, 
Pleasant Walks, Law, Gospel, Old Maids, and Mustard. 

The situation of the city of Durham is singularly and 
majestically grand ; in England we have no other town or city 
to compare with it. The river Wear nearly surrounds it, and 
its bold and precipitous banks are clad with trees, or cultivated 
as garden-ground, advantage being taken, here and there, 
of the occasional terraces whereon to erect groups of dwelling- 
houses. The castle with its embattled keep, and the noble 
and massive pile of the venerable cathedral of St. Cuthbert, 
crown the lofty eminence and overhang the romantic banks of 
the river. In truth, a more remarkable or finer situation could 
not possibly be chosen whereon to build a city, either as 
regards beauty or security. The walks in connection with 
the city in every direction are numerous, and exquisitely 
beautiful and enchanting. Yet here all praise must cease, 
for a dirtier city than Durham, it is universally allowed, does 
not exist in the whole length and breadth of Her Majesty's 
dominions. Well might the native minstrels parody the well 
known song, and sing : 


Through Scotland and Engleland tho' we may roam, 
And towns e'er so dirty, there's no place like Dor'm. 
No charm from the sky seems to hallow us there, 
Which seek the world thro' you'll ever meet with elsewhere. 

Dor'm, Dor'm, dirt, dirty Dorm ; 
There is no place like Dor'm, 
There is no place like Dor'm ! 

The lawyers and the clergy form so numerous a class tliat 
they may be said to embrace nearly the whole portion of the 
upper grades of society within the bounds of the city; In the 
annals of Durham we meet with numerous instances where the 
former (good honest men and true) have attained that amount 
of honour and wealth which has descended to their children and 
children's children, through a long lapse of time. 

See illustration on the characteristic, the City of Priests. 

As touching the two concluding celebrities, to wit, old maids 
and mustard, they are^ as every one I think will allow, just as 
nearly allied, both in their natures and properties, as misers 
and money. First then, old maids. For a long, very long 
series of years, the city of Durham has enjoyed a more than 
abundant share of old maggotty young ladies, otherwise " old 
virgins,* whose peculiarly picturesque appearance in gait or 
person instantly betrays their " aunciente maydenhode," wher- 
ever and whenever you meet them, whether in unos, or in duos, 
trios, or quartos. Less than seventy years ago one of these 
trios (sisters by-thc-bye) were of that singularly forbidding 
aspect that they were popularly known in and around the city 
by the cognomens of Plague, Pestilence, and Famine. f 

At no very distant epoch, Durham was highly celebrated for 

•"Mrs. Dongwith, old virgin, Elvet, buried 17 June 1779." — 
Cath. Keg. book. 

f With equal, if not greater propriety, they might have been named 
Envy, Hatred, and Malice. 


the manufacture and superior quality of its mustard ; but row, 
alas ! other places more favourably situated for trade and com- 
merce have superseded it, and at the present day — 

Its honours are gone, and its glories all flown, 
And it is no longer a fam'd mustard town ! ! 

I conclude with a short sketch from the early history of this 
now much used and healthful condiment: '' Prior to the year 
1720 there was no such luxury as mustard, in its present form, 
at our tables. At that time the seed was coarsely pounded in 
a mortar, as coarsely separated from the integument, and in 
that rough state prepared for use. In the year mentioned it 
occurred to an old woman of the name of Clements, residing in 
Durham, to grind the seeds in a mill, and pass it through the 
several processes which are resorted to in making flour from 
wheat. The secret she kept many years to herself, and, in the 
period of her exclusive possession of it, supplied the principal 
parts of the kingdom, and in particular the metropolis, with 
this article. George the First stamped it with fashion by his 
approval. Mrs. Clements as regularly twice a year travelled to 
London, and the principal towns throughout England, for 
orders, as any tradesman's rider of the present day ; and the 
old lady contrived to pick up not only a decent pittance, but 
what was then thought a tolerable competence. From this 
woman's residing in Durham it acquired the name of Durham 
Mustard.* — (Extracted from Richardson's Table Book, " Le- 

* In the Household Book of the fifth Earl of Northumberland, 
temp. Hen. VIII. (1512), I find an order made for the provision of 
160 gallons of mustarde for the use of the *' house for one hole year." 
And that the " somme paide for the full contontacion of the said 
mustarde for oone hole yere ys xxxiiij s. iiij d." A later item in the 
said book orders " that whereas mustarde hath beyn boglit of the 
Sawce-Maker aflforc tyme, that now it be made within my Lordis Hous, 
and that one be providid to be groome of the skullery that can make it.*' 



gendary Division/' vol. ii. p. 339 ; but originally from the 
Gentlemaii's Magazine.) 

A saying about the ancient city of Durham also occurs in 
a trio of urban celebrities, in hoc modo, " Bishop's Palace and 
Jock's Rovr ; * Durham for wealthy priests, old maids, good 
mustard, simple magistrates, and unoorrupt jurors ; Darlington 
for quakers, tammy weavers, and a bad foundation ! " 

Additional Sayings. 

[If ye had your due you would be walking up Framwell- 
gate, with a white napkin round your head, on the road to 
Pity me ! 

A clerical friend told me that an old woman in Durham, 
when in a vituperative mood, was thus accustomed to shout to 
those of her neighbours who had offended her. Framwellgate 
is a street in Durham, and by it condemned criminals had to 
pass to the gallows, which stood where the north road left the 
town, in a field called " Pity me," so termed, doubtless, from 
the neck verse Miserere mei, &c. 

There is an old example of Newcastle slang, in the Deposi- 
tions, &fG. before the Court at Durham,^'' p. 89, which is equally 
expressive : " Defamatio, 26 Oct. 1658. Margaret Nicolsor, 
single woman, against Agnes, wife of Robert Blenkinsop, in 
causa deff. viz., ' hyte hoore, a whipe and a cast and a franc 
hoode,f waiesme % for the, my lasse, wenst § have a halpeny 
halter for the to goo up Gallygait and be hanged ? ' " 

"There's not much law at Durham for a happeny." This is 
spoken of the heavy expenses attending the Probate Court at 

* The highest and lowest places in the town, both as regards 
situation and external appearances. 

fThe frenchhood was probably another name for the branks, an 
instrument or head-dress used in Newcastle to punish scolds. 

I Wae is me. § Wilt thou. 


Durham, and the obtaining of extracts from wills which arc 
deposited there. It is a common saying at Newcastle. — J. H.] 

Eare and Popular Rhymes, Proverbs, 
Sayings, Characteristics, Re- 
proaches, &c., &c., Relating to 
the Inhabitants of Certain 
Towns and Villages ; 
and also to parti- 
cular Families 
and Indivi- 
duals in 
Bishoprick of Durham. 

The prior of Finchale has got a fair wife, 
And every old monk will soon have the like. 

The following variorum reading occurs in Mickleton's MSS. 
preserved in Bishop Cousin's library, Durham: — 

The prior of Finkela hath got a fair wife. 
And every monk will have one. 

This couplet came into existence immediately following the 
period of the Reformation. The last prior of Finchale took to 
himself a wife the moment he considered himself released from 
his monastic vows by having the gates of his convent closed 
upon him by Henry, the eighth of that name. 

The last prior of Finchale was William Bennet, appointed in 
MDXXXVI. Doctor of Divinity in Durham College, Oxford, vth 
July, MDXXXV. After the Dissolution he became the first pre- 
bendary of the ivth stall in Durham Cathedral. He married 
Ann Thompson. In MDLXXi he was vicar of Kelloe, which he 
resigned in mdlxxix. He also held the vicarage of Aycliffe 
alono; with his stall in the cathedral. His will bears date 
iv. April, MDLXXXill, and has been printed by the Surtees 


Society in the Proceedings of BUhop Barnes. It proves him (in 
the Inventoiy) to have heen rich in plate and furniture, and to 
have had his barns and granaries Avell plenished. His books 
were valued at five shillings only I He left three sons, Isaac, 
Robert, and John, and one daughter, Jane. According to 
Hutchinson (vol. ii. p. 183) his great-grandson was living at 
Aycliffe in 1717. He had a brother, Robert (also a monk), 
who became ihe first prebendary of the xi stall and vicar of 
Gainford. The will of the latter was printed by the Surtees 
Society, among other Durham Wills, in 1835. 

During a long series of years antecedent to the period of the 
Reformation, a pilgrimage to the cell of Finchale was con- 
sidered as highly profitable to barren wives. 

Another stanza in the same collection, from whence the 
above is taken, forms so meet a companion that I am induced 
to transfer it to these pages : — 

I'll be no more a nun, nun, nun, 
I'll be no more a nun ! 

But I'll be a wife. 

And lead a merry life, 
And brew ale by the tun, tun, tun, 
And brew good ale a tun. (ortg.) 

The above verses are curious, and show the feelinofs of at 
least some of the liberated monastics at the period of the 
Reformation. A great many of the emancipated ecclesiastics 
married. The Bacons of Durham and Northumberland are 
descended from a monk of Weatherall cell, Cumberland. 

The martlet and the cine-foil notes. 
The Tempest and Umfraville coats. 

" This auncient rliime took use in the Ilforth on the cote of 
Tempest, of Holmesett." — Dodsworth's Collections, Bod. Lib. 
Lady Frances, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Henry Vane 


Tempest, of Wynjard Hall, near Sedgefield, married the 
Marquis of Londonderry, its present possessor. 

The family of Umfniville, anciently spelt Umfranville, were 
possessors of the manor of Harbottle, in Northumberland, in 
the year mlxxvi. Its former owner was Mildred, the son of 
Akman, from whom it was wrested by William the Conqueror, 
and given to Robert de Umfranville, knt. lord of Tours and 
Vian, otherwise called Kobert with the Beard. For many 
generations this was one of the most illustrious families in the 
North of England. 

Like the Mayor of Hart-le-pool, ye cannot do that. 

The sense of this saying is, you cannot work impossibilities. 
A certain mayor of this (at that time) poor but ancient corpora- 
tion, desirous to show his old companions that he was not too 
much elated by his high office, told them that, though he was 
Mayor of Hart-le-pool, he was still but a man ! there being 
many things he could not do ; which I account as much more 
commendable than the swagger of the learned (?) mayor of 
Banbury, who in solemn conclave undertook to prove that 
Henry III. reigned before Henry 11. 

The Cauld Lad o' Hylton. 

This was the cognomen of a certain ghost or domestic spirit^ 
of the brownie or Robin Goodfellow genus, which, some two or 
three centuries ago, used to haunt the ancient pile of Hylton 
castle. The merry pranks of the goblin, which appears at all 
times to have been perfectly harmless, however, became weari- 
some to the servants, and they determined upon banishing him ; 
but the Cauld Lad having caught an inkling of their intentions, 
used to amuse himself in the dead of the night with chanting, 
in a melancholy strain, the following consolatory lines : — 


Wae's me ! Wae's me ! 
The acorn is not yet 
Grown upon the tree 
That's to grow the wood 
That's to make the cradle 
That's to rock the bairn 
That's to grow a man 
That's to lay me ! 

But the Cauld Lad reckoned without his host, for the 
domestics provided the usual means of banishment, viz., a green 
cloak and a hood, which they laid before the kitchen fire. At 
the hour of midnight, the goblin sprite stood before the smoul- 
dering embers and surveyed the garments provided for him 
very attentively, then tried them on, and appeared delighted 
with his appearance, frisking about the room, and cutting 
sundry somersets and gambadoes, until at length, on hearing the 
first crow of the cock, twitching his green mantle about him, he 
disappeared with the appropriate valediction of — 

Here's a cloak and here's a hood, 

The Cauld Lad o' Hylton will do na' mair good ! 

And although he has never returned to disarrange the pewter 
vessels, or set the house in order, yet his voice was long after 
heard, at the dead hour of midnight, singing in melancholy 
melody, — 

Here's a cloak and here's a hood, 

The Cauld Lad o' Hylton will do na' mair good ! 

There is a room in Hylton Castle, known as the Cauld Lad's 
Room, which was never used excepting when the cas'ie was 
full of company, and within the last century many persons 
worthy of credit had heard at midnight the unearthly wailings 
of the Cauld Lad o' Hylton. [For the latest " Legends con- 


iiected with Hylton Castle," see an article by Mr. W. H. D. 
LongstafFe in Arch. jEliana, N.s. vii. pp. 153-169.] 
Mr. LongstafFe gives a variation : — 

I've taken your cloak, I've taken your liood, 
The Cowed Lad of Hylton will do no more good. 

A Sunderland Fitter. 

The playing-card known as the knave of clubs is so called. 

The Apostle of the North. 

A honourable appellation worthily bestowed upon one of the 
earliest and best divines of the Church of England, and of 
which she has just cause to be proud. There was also a saying, 
which originated at the period in which this northern worthy 
held the rectory of Hough ton-le- Spring, so singularly expressive 
of his bountiful and boundless hospitality, that it must not be 
omitted in this short illustration, to wit, " If a horse was turned 
loose in any part of the country it would immediately make its 
way to the rector of Houghton's." 

It is almost unnecessary to give the name of Bernard Gilpin. 

We'll a' gan' together like the folks o' Shields. 

The origin of this saying is now, I fear, quite forgotten ; at 
least, I have never been able to meet with it, although I have 
made numerous inquiries. Perhaps it may have referred to 
the snug parties of neighbours which used to go by boatsfull up 
and down the Tyne between Shields and Newcastle, and which 
got for these vessels the name of Comfortables.— Robert Ingham, 
Esq., of Westoe, formerly M.P. for Shields. 

This saying also belongs to Berwickshire. " We'll gang a' 
thegither like the folk o' the Shiels " is very common in the 


moutlis of the peasantry when any party of them wish to 
accompany another to their homes from kirns, fairs, and other 
social meetings. — Henderson's Popular Rhymes, &c., of Ber- 
wick, p. 41. 

Place-names that terminate in Shiel or Shiels are numerous 
in the hill-district of that county ; and there is another 
proverb in reference to this, viz., " There's as mony Shiels 
in the Lammermoors as there's rigs in the Merse." As 
the inhabitants of such farm-places were limited in number, 
when they went out to kirk or market they took their departure 
in a body ; and, from this circumstance, the proverb has been 
considered to have originated. 

Here lies John Lively, vicar of Kelloe, 
Who had seven daughters and never a fellow. 

That is, he had no male child. " John Lively in his will 
bequeaths to his daughter Elizabeth a very choice jewel in the 
shape of his best gold ring, with a death's head in it, of all 
good things, and vii yards of white cloth for curtains of a bed. 
His daughter Mary fared more pleasantly, for she got his silver 
seal of arms, his gimald ring, and a black gold ring." — Long- 
staffe's Hist, of Darlington. 

Another version of the saying gives six daughters only. 

Frek-born John, or Lilburne, the Trouble World. 

Such was the familiar name of John Lilburne, which he 
acquired on account of his bold, intrepid, and assiduous labours 
during the Commonwealth, in defence of the rights and liberties 
of the people. Being both a scholar and soldier, his pen and 
sword were both wielded with uncommon perseverance, though 
he was frequently tried, imprisoned, and punished for these 
offences. As a soldier he distinguished himself in the battles of 
Edge-Hill, Brentford, and Marston Moor, in the Parliament 
army; and, as a writer, he was admired both in his political 


and puritanical character. He possessed an unconquerable 
spirit, and was of so quarrelsome a disposition that it has been 
appositely said of him, that if there none living but him, John 
would be against Lilburne, and Lilburne against John.* Hume 
designates him as "the most turbulent, but the most upright 
find courageous of human kind." He was born at Sunderland 
in the year 1618. His deatli took place at Eltliam, Aug. 29, 
1657, and two days afterwards liis body was brought to London 
and interred in the Quakers' graveyard. The following epigram- 
matic epitaph appeared shortly after the decease of " Lilburne 
the Trouble World":— 

Js John departed, and is Lilburne gone ? 
Farewell to both, to Lilburne and to John ! 
Yet being gone, take this advice from me, 
Let them not both in one grave buried be. 
Here lay ye John, lay Lilburne thereabout, 
For if they both should meet they will fall out. ' 
See Political Ballads, printed for the Percy Society, p. 97, &c. 

CnowLEv's Crew. 

Any black, dirty-looking person is proverbially described as 
one of Crowley's crew. 

Ambrose Crowley was a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who, 
from the humble condition of a common blacksmith, by his 
industry, invention, and perseverance in promoting the trade 
and manufactures of his country, raised himself to affluence and 
nobility. Sir Ambrose Crowley removed his own ironworks, 
then in their infancy, from Sunderland to Winlaton, which then 
consisted only of " a few deserted cottages," but soon became 
densely peopled by the multitude of persons employed in the 

* Judge Jenkins said of him, " That if the world was emptied of 
all but himself, Lilburne would quarrell with John, and John with 
Lilburne." His character is given in Iludibras, part iii. canto ii. 


various branches of the iron trade in this cyclopean colony. 
He drew up a code of laws for the regulation of his colony, 
which have to a certain extent superseded the general law of 
the land, and become locally established, and remain in force 
to the present time. [In Hornby's MSS. ii. p. 45, is the fol- 
lowing entry : " The town hutch (of Newcastle) rob'd by a 
mob of keelmen and Crowley's crew, the 26th June, 1740." — 
[The town hutch was a strong chest secured by nine locks, in 
which the money received by the town of Newcastle was de- 
posited. — J. H.] A tax is levied among the workmen to support 
the aged or disabled who ere known as '' Crowley's poor.''' 

The Biddickers, 

The village of South Biddick is in a sequestered situation, 
and was formerly inhabited by banditti, who set all authority 
at defiance. The press-gang were once beaten out of the place 
with the loss of two men, and never more known to enter, for 
if they were known to be in the neighbourhood the Biddickers 
used to sound a horn, the signal for them to fly to arms ; fires 
were lighted in various places, and the keels in the river were 
seized, with which they formed a bridge of communication with 
Fatfield (another place equally as lawless as their own), and 
kept watch and ward till the danger was past. In consequence 
of this it became a receptacle for such as had violated the laws 
of their country. It was here the unfortunate James Drum- 
mond, Duke of Perth, took sanctuary after the rebellion of 
1745-6, under the protection of Nicholas Lambton, Esq., who 
had his residence hero, where he lived in obscurity and conceal- 
ment till 1782, when he died, and was buried at Painshaw. 
— {See page 46.) 

By 'grees and 'grees, as the West Aucklakd Lasses get their 


The meaning of this proverb is obvious, but as regards the 
origin thereof I am totally ignorant. 


ha' gained, for, by my soul, I DID NA' KEN AdAm's NAME WAS 

From Mr. Pennant we glean the following story : — " When 
King James the First, in one of his Progresses, was entertained 
in Lumley Castle, William James, bishop of Durham, a relation 
of the house, in order to give his majesty an idea of the 
importance of the family, wearied him with a long detail of their 
ancestors, to a period even past belief. ' 0, mon,' says the king, 
* gan na' further : let me digest the knowledge I ha' gained, 
for, by my soul, I did na' ken Adam's name was Lumley.' " 

The Lumleys are, however, all foolish boasting apart, a 
family of extremely high antiquity, 

"Sir Harry, Oh I Sir Harry Vane! The Lord deliver me from 
Sir Harry Vane ! " 

The above expression was given utterance to by Oliver 
Cromwell when in the act of dissolving the Long Parliament, 
in consequence of Sir Harry's opposition thereto.' Sir H. Vane 
was a staunch republican, and resisted Oliver Cromwell to such 
a decree that the usurper sent him to Carisbrook Castle. On 
the Restoration he was arrested and committed to the Tower ; 
and although accused only of acts that occurred after the king's 
death, he was found guilty and beheaded on Tower Hill in the 
year mdclxii. 

Harry Vane, who never said a false thing or did a bad one. 

Harry Vane, iii. d. Lord Barnard, was the great-grandson of 
the immortal Sir Harry, from whom the still more celebrated 
Oliver Cromwell so jeerlngly intreated the Lord to deliver him. 
Lord Barnard was Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, Lord Lieutenant 
and Vice- Admiral of the county of Durham, &c., &c. Li 1754, 
during the ministry of the Duke of Newcastle, he was created 


Viscount Barnard and Earl of Darlington. His character is 
variously given by the hot politicians of the day. Horace 
Walpole lashes him in the most bitter style; but by the premier 
duke, who knew him better, he is eulogised as one of the best 
and most trustworthy of men. 

Here lies Eobert Trollop, 
Who made yon stones roll up ; 
And when God took his soul up, 
His body fill'd this hole up. 

In Gateshead churchyard was a singular monument, said to 
have been erected by Robert Trollop, the architect of tlie 
Exchange at Newcastle, to cover his own intended place of 
interment. It was a square heavy building, and the upper 
part contained several scriptural texts in gold letters on a black 
ground. It is said that there was originally a statue on the 
north side of this monument pointing towards the Exchange, 
which is nearly opposite, and having the above lines below the 

Variation, extracted from Anthologiaj by W. T., Inner 
Temple, Lond. 1807, p. 49. 

I, Sir John Trollop, 
Made these stones roll up ; 
When God shall take my soul up, 
My body shall fill that hole up. 

See Hutcliinson's Hist, of Northumberland, 

Vol. ii. pp. 401-2. 

[I find the following in Hornhy^s MSS. ii. p. 33. There is 
a tradition that Daniel Defoe, who was concealing himself in 
these parts on account of some prosecution against him for his 
writings, standing in Gateshead churchyard made the follow- 
ing extempore epitaph: 


Here lies Robert Trollop, 
Who made yon stones role-up ; 
When Heaven took his soul up, 
His body fill'd this hole up. 

It is also added there, "There is no epitaph, and no statue of 
Trollop pointing to Newcastle Exchange as stated by Pen- 
nant."— J. H.] 

Note. — Although the monument of Trollop no longer exists 
in the cemeterj-garth of Gateshead church, the curious will 
be gratified so far in that the old ruinated tomb has of late been 
restored, in accordance with the original design, by the opulent 
family of Greene, memorials of whom it bears. A third variorum 
reading of the Trollop rhymes gives Death in the place of God 
in line 3. Not a very sensible variation, yet il is one I have 
both seen and heard. 

"They would be Angels, not Angles, if they were but 

The intention of converting the Anglo-Saxons to the Chris- 
tian faith originated with Gregory, surnamed the Great, after- 
wards bishop of Rome. It happened that this prelate, when 
archdeacon of Rome, had observed in the forum or market- 
place of Rome some flaxen-haired Anglo-Saxon youths exposed 
for sale, whom their mercenary parents had sold to the Roman 
merchants. Struck with their fair complexions and beautiful 
countenances, he demanded out of what country they were? 
And understanding they were heathen Angles, he lamented the 
case of a land, the inhabitants being so beautiful, to be subject 
to the prince of darkness, and said they ought more properly to 
be denominated Non Angli, sed Angeli forent si essent Chris- 
tiani. And asking out of what province they were, was 
answered, "Out of Deira, the southern province of the king- 
dom of Northumbria." "Deira," he replied, "that is good; 


they must be called to the mercy of God from his anger, De 
ira Deiy "But what is the name of the king of that pro- 
vince?" " Aella," was the reply. " AUelulia," cried he, "we 
must endeavour that the praise of God be sung in that country." 
Gregory was strongly pressed in the spirit to go into Britain 
to endeavour the conversion of those heathens, but Pelagius 11. , 
the then bishop of Rome, and the whole of the people of that 
city, rose in an uproar and prevented his departure. On his 
elevation to the apostolic see ho despatched Augustine, with 
other preachers of the Benedictine order, to the number of 
eleven, to undertake the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons. 

Beef to the heels, like a Durham Heifer. 

The banks of the Tees are celebrated for their breed of 
short-horned cattle ; when four years old they generally weigh 
from eighty to ninety stones. In 1779 a fat ox, bred by Mr. 
Thomas Hill, of Blackwell, was sold to a butcher in Dar- 
lington for lOy^. lis. ; it weighed 160 stones 10 lbs., at 141b*. 
the stone. The Durham White Ox, which weighed 223 stones 
(of 14 lbs.), measured, from tail to poll, eight feet eight inches, 
at the age of seven years. It was bred and fed by J. D. 
Newsham, Esq., late of Houghton. Sheep also, bred and fed 
in this county, have attained the enormous weight of fiftj-four 
pounds per quarter. 

The proverb is, I am told, generally applied to ladies with 
not very small ankles. 

Can soss (J,.e. lap) as much milk as the Lambton Worm. 

Spoken of the ploughman, who after having drank his two 
or three pints of milk, and ate a proportionate quantity of 
household bread, assists himself to anotlier I 

It is traditionally said that the Lambton Worm could drink 


the milk of nine kine, as the following stanzas, extracted from 
the ballad, will testify : — 

To the milky fold it would crawl at eve, 

And at the morning's break ; 
And feed on the milk that nine kine gave, 

In mien both soft and sleek. 

But should that boon e'er be denied, 

Both men and beast must fly, 
Its hideous form would swell with pride, 

And ire flash from its eye. 

Note. — I never but once heard the above saying repeated. 

Never trust a Little. 

Although this saying is nearly universally used under 
another name in the bishoprick, and elsewhere in the North of 
England, I have reason to believe that the above is the correct 
form, and the other a mere adaptation. A family of this name 
(Little) were celebrated rievers, or, in other and more modern 
language, thieves, dwelling on the border. 

On Tunstall grows the bonny rose, 

At Hetton the lily pale ; 
But the bonny rose won't kythe with Bowes, 

Sweet hly of the vale. 

Kythe, kin, to be akin to. A branch of the Shadforth 
family of Eppleton was seated at Tunstall. Anthony Shad- 
forth, of Tunstall, who died in mdcl, had several daughters, 
who all married well. The allusion may probably apply to 
Mary (the flower of the family), who might refuse to kythe 
with Bowes at the time the stanza was written, and yet after- 
wards alter her mind. — Sir Cuthbert Sharp's Bishoprick Gar- 



He (She, or It) is a Tofthill-er. 

Any person, or thing, extremely rough and uncouth in 
manners or appearance, is so characterised. The village of 
Tofthill is situated between Evenwood and Wolsingham. 

Who knows but Mister Bowes 

In his old days will mend his ways ! 

Tradition tells that early one morning, about the year 1740, 
as " Sir" Will. Brown, and a chosen few of his merrie men, 
were returning from the scene of some midnight robbery upon 
the king's highway, in the far west, and travelling along the 
road in the direction of Darlington, his horse, which was dread- 
fully tired, sank almost up to his knees in mud and mire at every 
step he took; at the last he fell from sheer exhaustion, and, 
sans ceremonie, flung his rider to flounder in the mud, and 
extricate himself as best he might. The ryghte honest knyghte, 
who was speedily soused from head to foot in the filthy fluid, on 
recovering firm footing and opening his eyes, beheld Squire 
Bowes, the owner of Thornton Hall and the estate through 
which passed this execrable road, just outside his own mansion 
house immediately opposite, to whom, calling aloud, he 
addressed the above rhymes. These wonderfully harmonical 
succession of sounds, it will be observed, bear a twofold appli- 
cation, and were, no doubt, considered sufficiently witty and 
satirical at the period at which they were spoken impromptu 
by that good honest man and true, " Sir " William Brown, 
Knight of the Order of St. Nicholas. 

We are not informed whether Mister Bowes took the hint 
and mended his ways in accordance with the advice so gratui- 
tuously given by the witty highwayman, or not, but let us hope 
that, for his soul's health, and the comfort of all travellers, 
whether on horseback or on foot, he speedily set about mend- 
ing not only his public but his private ways also ! 


The Mayor of Stockton town, 
And the Mayor of Hart-le-pule ; 
The first's a silly young fellowe, 
The second's an awde fule. 

To what particular period in the history of these two neigh- 
bouring corporations, and rival ports, to assign the above 
homely verses, I most freely confess 1 am quite ignorant. 

Chester-le-Street; where the Folks play at Putt for Bairns. 

In October, 1735, a child of James ana Elizabeth Leesh, of 
the above place, was played for at cards, at the sign of the 
" Salmon," (»ne game, four shillings against the child, by 
Henry and John Trotter, Kobert Thompson, and Thomas Elli- 
son ; it was won by the latter, and delivered to them accord- 
ingly. — Local Records, 1st ed. p. 79. 

Sunderland Sowies. 

This rather coarse and unenviable epithet is, even down to 
the present day, applied to the fair sex of Sunderland. The 
meaning of the word sowies, although now nearly forgotten, is 
evidently the diminutive of sow. 

Has a Chip of Bede's Chair in her Pouch. 

It has been a custom from time immemorial for the ladies, 
immediately after the conclusion of the marriage ceremony 
(before Hymen's altar in Jarrow church), to proceed to the 
vestry and cut a chip off Bede's chair, to ensure their fruitful- 
ness. The saying is generally applied to those females who 
show signs of fecundity rather early after entering into the 
happy state of matrimony. 

Many a fair pilgrim has borne away chips oflF this wonder- 
working chair, to place under her pillow, in full confidence 
that the man she dreams of will be her future husband. 



WiNLATON Shags. 
The good folks of Winlaton are so called, but why I know 
not (see p. 72). 

" Better Luck Still, quoth Eowley Burdon." 

All extremely popular toast and saying through nearly the 
whole of the North of England. 

Lord Strathmore's Bumblers. 

When the late Earl of Strathmore raised the Derwent Legion, 
in 1803, from no doubt a principle of economy he clothed the 
infantry in scarlet jackets and black breeches and accoutrements. 
From this singular dress the corps obtained the contemptuous 
designation of the Bumblers.* — [From Brochett.~\ 

Byerley's Bull-Dogs. 

A name for Colonel Byerley's troopers, still remembered in 
popular tradition. 

Tanfield fools, and x^nfield lubberts, 
Hungry Iceton with its empty cupboards. 

Tanfield, Anfield, and Iceton (properly Iveston), are villages 
and hamlets near the source of the river Derwent. 

This rhyming couplet is still aj)plied as a reproach on the 
ignorance, idleness, and poverty of the inhabitants of these por- 
tions of the Bishoprick ; but it is scarcely applicable to the 
natives of the present day and generation, although often used. 

* Before the present rage for volunteering, the old country yeo- 
manry trained at Newcastle were called Noodles, and the children 
were accustomed to shout after them as " Bumblers " and " Pheside 
Fumblers," who " daurena gang to war." 


The strength of Hugh 
A lion slew. 

This verse in its Latin form of — 

Viribus Hugonis, vires periere leonis — 

was written in commemoration of one of the family of Neville, 
who attended King Eichard I. in the Holy Land wars, and 
was an especial favourite with his royal master. This Hugh 
Neville slew a lion in the Holy Land, first driving an arrow 
into his breast and then running him through the body with his 
sword. He was buried about the year mccxx. under a marble 
monument in the church of Waltham Abbey in Essex. 

There seems no known similarity of descent between the 
family of Hugh de Neville and the Nevilles whose heiress 
became by marriage the lady of Raby. Hugh's seal is figured 
by Thompson in his History of Boston. It represents his leonine 
contest, the lion's address forming the legend : " Or, a gardez. 
Bel ami Trop. Fort. Baaile." Hugh's father, Ealph, 
founded Hoton Nunnery, in Yorkshire, and the name of Neville 
is my only inducement for alluding to his son in this series. 

To Kill all, like Andrew Mills. 

Spoken of certain bishoprick sportsmen who indiscriminately 
kill all that comes within range of their guns. 

There Never was an Allan a Parson. 

Spoken of the family of Allan of Blackwell, in com.Dunelm., 
and Barton, in com. Ebor. ; and the pedigree of the family fully 
bears out the saying. 

Like Shankey Hall, he takes ne Hints. 

A highly popular bishoprick proverb. There was a Shankey 
Hall belonging to the city of Durham who died a few years ago, 


a very little man, who is well remembered. He was bellman of 
Durham, a rather singular character, and used to wear a three- 
cocked hat of the old school. His son, a tailor, still lives in 
Durham ; he also goes by the name of " Shankey Hall." — 
[W. D.] 

Whorlton Snobs 
Are all called Bobs. 

Whether to translate the word Snobs by shoemakers, or 
vulgar, rude, and illiterate persons, I cannot determine ; but be 
that as it may, it appears that the name of Robert did at one 
time prevail to a great extent in the village of Whorlton, in the 
parish of Gainford. 

Johannes Lumleius 
Annos mille vives. 

'' The transpose of the letters in the name of Lord Lumley 
doth seeme prophetically to promise many years unto that 
worthy and good old man." — Camden's Remaines. 

In the year mdxciv. Bishop Matthew granted a licence to the 
above nobleman to translate to Chester-le- Street the remains 
and monuments of his ancestors, particularly of John Lumley 
and Ralph Lumley, from the yard of the cathedral church of 
Durham, where they were placed near the north door. He 
also caused monuments to be erected in the same place to many 
of his ancestors, from Liulph down to his own time. This 
solemn arrangement of effigies cannot be visited without deep 
emotion by those who know the family, descended of an illus- 
trious race of ancestry, or have traced their history and posses- 

Shields Geordies. 

The by-name given by the sailors of other English ports to 
those belonging to the port of Shields. 


Bad-weather Geordie is the name given, on the coasts of 
Durham and Northumberland, to the evil submarine spirit who, 
as occasion serves him, raises dreadful storms at sea, and, as a 
consequence, causes the tears of the widow and orphan often- 
times to flow. The northern sailor, when he hears the cry of 
" Cockles alive '' on a dark wintry night, concludes that a 
storm is at hand, and he secretly ''breathes a prayer backwai'd 
for the soul of ' Bad-weather Geordie.' ""^ 

The by-name of Geordie is, I am told, also given to the 
sailors of the port of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

Sunderland Jammies. 
A by-name given to the Sunderland sailors. 

Drive Hawky, car' Hawky, 

Drive Hawky thro' the watter ; 

Our Hawky's but a little cow, 

She's sometimes flaid to wade the watter : 

Tak' her up, and set her through, 

Car Hawky thro' the watter. 

A pitman on the banks of the Wear, opposite to Hylton 
Castle, had a very handsome wife, and, when the river was 
swollen with rain, her husband — good soul ! — used to carry her 
through the water on his back to a summer-house near to 
Hylton Castle. A song was made on the occasion, a fragment 
of which is preserved in the text ; and Mr. Hylton (the good 
and last Baron), hearing -his fool sing this song, asked who 
taught him it ? "What wad ye?" was the fool's answer; and 
neither entreaties, threats, nor beatings could gain any further 

Notwithstanding the above is wrapped in mystery, I fancy 

* This sentence is from Chatto's Rambles in Northumberland, p. 207. 
" Bad- weather Geordie " is merely the vendor of cockles. — J. H. 

72 THE dp:nham tracts. 

that I can see something in the shape of an amour betwixt the 
last of the Hyltons of Hylton Castle and the pitman's wee 
wifie. Mr. Longstaffe {Arch. yEliana) says, " The rhyme is 
an alteration of a well-known Scotch song about a cow whose 
pet name — a common one for her species — was Hawkey." 

He's a Winlater. 
This saying may be illustrated by using the parallel saying 
of Cumberland, '' He's a Bewcastler " — i.e. a bad one. 

Cicely of Raby, 
Never so good a lady. 

She was the youngest child of Ralph Neville, Earl of West- 
moreland, who had twenty other children. She married 
Richard Duke of York, and was mother to two of the three 
kings of England belonging to the House of York, and grand- 
mother to the other. Elizabeth, her grandchild, married 
Henry VII. She lived thirty years a widow, and died in the 
tenth year of King Henry VII. a.d. mccccxcy. — See Fuller's 

While we were sleeping, we three babes were slain ; 
And here we sleep, till we must rise again. 

Under a slightly varied form these verses are given on the 
tomb of John, Jane, and Elizabeth Brass, who were murdered 
by their father's servant, Andrew Mills. To commemorate this 
torrid tragedy an altar-tomb was erected in j\Ierrington church- 
yard. This monument, having fallen somewhat into decay, was 
restored by subscription in 1789. The whole inscription ran 
thus : — 

Here lies the bodies of John, Jane, and Elizabeth Brass, 
children of John and Margaret Brass, who were murthered by 
their father's servant, January xxv. 168|. 


Reader, remember, sleeping we were slain, 
And here we sleep till we must rise again. 

Whoso sheddetli man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. 
Thou shalt do no murder. 

Mills was executed on the 15th day of August, mdclxxxiii, 
on what was then a common, by the roadside, about half- a- mile 
to the north of Ferry Hill, in full view of the scene of murder. 
He was afterwards hung in chains (?) 

Why they, the children of Brass, should (in the text) be 
called babes I cannot see, their ages being Jane 20, John 18, 
and Elizabeth 11 years ; but probably it was from their living 
under their father's roof at the period of their awful death. 

The dwelling-house of Brass stands a few fields to the north 
of the lane leading from Merrington to Ferry Hill, on the 
northern brow of the hill. The house, a substantial farmhold, 
may seem to be exactly in the same state as in mdclxxxiii. 
A portion of the gibbet, or, as it was locally called, " Andrew 
Mills' Stob," existed within living memory, until it fell before 
the plough ; which, however, only anticipated its destruction 
a few years, as it was in a fair way of being cut down piece- 
meal, under the effects of a superstitiously ignorant belief in 
its efficacy as a charm against ague and toothache. 

BoxNY Bobby Shaftoe. 

Tradition states that this bishoprick characteristic, and the 
following still more popular song, had their origin on occasion 
of the excessive love of Miss Bellasyse, the heiress of Brance- 
peth, for Robert Shaftoe, Esq., of Whitworth, for whom we 
are also told on the same authority, she died for love. A por- 
traiture of this favoured lover is preserved in the mansion at 
Whitv/orth Park, in which he is represented not only as very 


young and handsome, but also with yellow hair. Here follows 
the sono;: — 

Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair, 
Combing down his yellow hair ; 
He's my ain for iwermair, 
Hey for Bobby Shaftoe. 

Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea, 
Wi' silver buckles at his knee ; 
When he comes back he'll marry me, 
Bonny Bobby Bhaftoe. 

At election periods, whenever one of this family is a can- 
didate, the following addition is given, with the occasional still 
further addition of a still more spurious verse : — 

Bobby Shaftoe's looking out, 
All his ribbons flew about, 
All the lasses gave a shout — 
" Hey " for Bobby Shaftoe ! 


That is, highlanders. The whole of the population on the 
banks of the Tees, above Barnard Castle, are so designated by 
the lower orders of the masculine gender in the above-named 
town, between whom and their more civilised neighbours a 
deadly, or at least an extremely pugnacious and bloody, feud 
has existed far beyond the period of living memory. The 
writer recollects, once upon a time, being eye-witness to one 
of these periodical uproars, which generally occurred at every 
fair and hiring holden at Barnard Castle ; and being at that 
period only a young youth, he was, he full well remembers, 
most dreadfully alarmed. The Barnard Castle tammy-weavers 
were, however, no match for the stout, healthy, brawny lads of 
Mickleton Forest and Frith, it being a well-known fact that it 


was no uncommon occurrence to see from at least three to. as 
manj as six tammy-weavers all set, like as many butchers' 
dogs, upon one Heelander, who, notwithstanding the serious 
odds against him, often proved the conqueror ! Occasionally, 
when the Barney-Cassellers could muster sufficiently powerful, 
they used to visit Middleton on a fair-day, where their temerity 
generally met its due reward; for they invariably returned 
home not only worsted, but covered with blood and bruises, 
and occasionally, also, with broken bones. 

Although an occasional outbreak may now take place once 
in the course of two or three years, I am happy to say that (in 
the middle of the nineteenth century) a more quiescent spirit 
is possessing itself of the Barney- Cassell and Teesdale bodies, 
and these semi-feudal outbreaks are fast wearing away. 

Lune and Penn, 
Fortune and Benn ; 
Erastus and Johne, 
And Bett alone. 

A jingling rhyme on the Christian names of the family of 
Ambrose Johnson, of Whorlton, near Barnard Castle. He had 
three sons — Benn, Erastus, and John ; and four daughters— 
Pennington, Elizabeth, Eunice, and Fortune. " Pennington 
Johnson, baptized 1681." Mr. Francis Wycliffe married 
Fortune Johnson, and having an estate unexpectedly left him 
by his wife's brother (who favoured '' Fortune " above the rest 
of his sisters and brethren) at the time his wife gave birth to 
twins, in 1710, he very considerately caused them to be bap- 
tized by the names of Favour and Fortune. A brother of these 
twins came to extreme poverty, and died at the residence of his 
brother in-law, the Rev. Peter Fisher, vicar of Staindrop — so 
little was the benefit which accrued from the favour shown in 
giving fortune. 


Matthew Lambert's Mustardmek. 

This is the Brafferton name for the Heron. A worthy 
agricultural labourer, who lived at the above-named place, had 
a small plot of mustard growing in one corner of his little 
holding, and on a certain day he expected a seedsman from 
Darlington to view and purchase the produce. On that day 
Matthew, with the assistance of a mate, was mending his fences, 
having left his spouse, Peggy, with instructions to call to him 
when the man of seeds came. No summons, however, came for 
a long time ; at last a heron flew, unseen, over his head, on its 
passage from Sandholm, near Ketton, to Morden-Carrs, crying 
"Crake, crake, crake!"" "Let me away," quoth he, "no 
doubt the mustardman's come ; for I hear my wife Peggy's 
voice at the last." 

Lost in a Wood, like Geordy Potter o' Sadberge. 

Of the private and public history of the hero of this well- 
known bishoprick saw, little or nothing has descended . to 
posterity, further than that he was a pedlar, and had his 
domicile at the place mentioned in the text, and that on one 
occasion he was (for some of his misdeeds, no doubt) most 
unmercifully whipped, and afterwards placed in the stocks, in 
some town in Yorkshire — mayhap that it was either Hull or 
Halifax — but this I cannot speak to. However, while suffering 
under his lack of liberty, he, poor fellow ! contrived means to 
pen a loving letter to his still more loving wife, wherein he 
described himself as having got into a wood, and notwithstand- 
ing he could see over it, and also through it, and under it, yet, 
in spite of his teeth, he could not get out of it ! 


Rare and Popular Rhymes, Proverbs, 

Sayings, Characteristics, &c., 

&c., relating to certain 

Towns and Villages 

in the County of 


Chester-le- Street has a bonny bonny church, 

With a broach upon the steeple, 
But Chester-le-Street is a dirty, dirty town, 

And mair shame for the people. 

The word broach is nearly peculiar to the north of England 
The ancient celebrity of this quondam city, recorded in the 
latter clause of the stanza, is equally applicable at the present 
day as it was three or four hundred years ago. 

Out o' Bisho' Brigg into Yorkshire. 

That is, " out of the frying-pan into the fire," or " out of 
God's blessing into the warm sun." — Incidit in Scyllam cupiens 
vitare Charyhdim, 

Cox-Green's a bonny place. 

Where water washes clean. 
And Painshaw's on a hill. 

Where we have merry been. 

The above verse forms the second stanza of the concludino; 
song as sung by the captain of the honourable band of Gentle- 
men Sword-dancers resident in the vicinities of Sunderland 
and the City of Durham. Cox Green, a hamlet on the Wear, 
five miles west of Sunderland. Painshaw, a township about 
three miles north-east of Houghton-Ie-Spring. The high 
grounds command extensive prospects, in which the city of 
Durham and Chester-le-Street are conspicuous objects. 


1. To take Darnton Trod. Or, May take Darnton Trod. 

Spoken of one who, having been guilty of some dishonest or 
disreputable act, will be constrained to leave his accustomed, 
haunts ; and yet I never either heard or read that this ancient 
town enjoyed the privilege of sanctuary. It is more than pro- 
bable that this saying originated in the pristine celebrity of 
Darlington, and some of its neighbouring villages, as the 
rendezvous of a few of the most celebrated of the Knights 
of the Blade, or St. Nicholas ; in modern language, yclept 
robbers and highwaymen. Tradition still points out the ancient 
wayside inn at Baydale Beck as being a sort of Palliard for 
a celebrated clatch of thieves known by the name of Cotton's 
Gang. This inn, too, was frequented by a notorious villain 
called Sir (notice his knighthood) William Brown and his 
retainers. This fellow, in desert of his villainies, was hung at 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the 8th August, 1743. See Loc. Hist. 
Tab. Book, vol. i. p. 409; vol. ii. p. 199. {See also a curious 
anecdote of Sir William, chronicled on page ^'6). These Darnton 
worthies and their avocation have been submerged in the 
black-troop of modern days, and these, in their turn, were in 
a great measure dispersed on the appointment of a regular 
police force. A few fast fading spirits still linger round their 
quondam haunts. 

" He was in danger of being robbed about Darnton and 
Neesum by thieves and highwaymen." — 'Letter of Bishop Cosin. 

2. Wya ! and what of all that? Aw saw three stirks sell'd i' 
Darnton market for five punds a piece, as big as churches ! 

A gentle retort, made use of in the western parts of the county 
of Durham, to one who is relating the wonderful and cheap 
purchases made by himself, or others, at a far distant fair. 


It is also used as a gibe on the dialect spoken in Darlington- 
shire ; the chief peculiarity of which rests in the pronunciation 
of the letter R, which it appears that we possess as well as our 
more northern countrymen, though not in the same burring or 
wharling tone. To the word all we likewise give a very hard 
pronmiciation. The saying is also much used in Westmore- 
land and the north-west corner of the county of York ; but, like 
every other saying of a reproachful character, rarely in that of 
the place or district to which it applies. 

3. Deep as the Hell-kettles. 

The above is the name of three deep pits at Oxen-le-Hall, in 
the parish of Darlington. Many fabulous traditionary stories 
are told of them. It is said that they are bottomless ; that the 
water is hot in consequence of reverberation ; that geese and 
ducks thrown therein have dived through subterranean passages 
to the River Tees, &c., &c., &c. Harrison (1577) calls them 
" three little poles, which the people call the Kettles of Hell, or 
ye Devil's Kettles, as if he should see the souls of sinfull men 
and women in them ; they adde also that ye spirits oft beene 
harde to cry and yell about them." 

4. Barnaby yea ! Barnaby nay ! 

A cart-load of hay, whether God will or nay; 

Many centuries ago the owner, or occupier, of the field where 
the Hell Kettles are situate was going to lead his hay on the 
feast-day of St. Bai'nabas (11th June) ; and, on being remon- 
strated with on the impiety of the act by some more pious 
neighbour, he used the above rhymes, when instantly he, his 
carts and horses, were all swallowed up in the pools; where 
they may still be seen, on a fine day and clear water, many 
fathoms deep ! 


5. Darnton, where the wind once blew a dog's tongue out. 

This truth has passed into a saying, and is explained by the 
fact that some twenty years ago that portion of the gilt talbot 
(a sign by the way which projected some distance over-head 
into the street) having become corroded through the effects of 
old age and the weather, was blown off one tremendously 
windy market-day. — See Mr. Longstaffe's elaborate History of 

6. Dirty Darnton, var. Darnton-in-the-dirt. 

" Darlington, a post town, is remarkable for nothing but its 
dirt and a high stone bridge over little or no water." — Daniel 
de Foe's Tour. 

In the year mdclxxix James Duke of York (afterwards 
James II.) on his visiting Scotland, rested one night in Dar- 
lington, and put up at an old "mud house" in Tubwell Row; 
this house was pulled down only a few years ago ; a panel 
therein commemorated the royal visit. Tradition says that the 
duke looked out of the window and asked what place it was ; a 
bystander quickly answered that it was " Darnton." "Humph," 
quoth he, " I think its Darnton i' th' Dirt !" 

1. All the world and part of Gatesides. 
This saying is applied to any unusually large concourse of 

2. Gateshead; a dirty lane leading to Newcastle. 

This descriptive epithet, though modern, is, however, as old 
as the days of Charles James Fox. The town of Gateshead 
beinor named in the House of Commons, a proud southern 
remarked, " Gateshead ! Gateshead ! where is Gateshead ? " 


He never, it would appear, having heard that such a place 
existed tiU that moment of time ; to which query, Mr. Fox, 
who had travelled further north, or, at all events, knew more 
of the geography of the bishoprick than his haughty compeer, 
replied, " Oh ! it's a long dirty lane leading into Newcastle."— 
I. F. [The late Mr. John Fen wick, Newcastle.] 

3, A Shirrey Moor. 

A tumultuous assemblage of people [such as we may suppose 
when all the world and part of Gateside meet] usual on Gates- 
head Fell when the Judges were met by the sheriff on what is 
still called Sheriff Hill. — Brockett's Glossary of North Country 

Till I met with the above interpretation of the saying I had 
always supposed that it had its origin in the battle of Sheriff- 
Muir, where all was blood, uproar, and confusion ; and where, 
according to the traditional relation of another of these dark 
sayings of antiquitie, " the Scotchman lost his father and 
mother and his gude buff belt worth them both." [Note that 
the belt of the Highlandman was thoroughly lined with good 
pieces of gold — i.e., guineas.] 

Barnard Castle. 
1. Carries his coals round by Eichmond to sell at Barnard Castle, 

This saying is peculiar to the central and mid-southern 
portions of the county of Durham. It is spoken of a person 
who is guilty of a circumlocutory act. 

2. Lartington for frogs, 

And Barney Castle for butchers' dogs, 

Varia : 

Lartington frogs, 
And Barney Castle butcher- dogs. 


The latter couplet assumes the quality of an undignified 
characteristic applied to the people of those places. The former 
bespeaks the places themselves as being at one period, and 
perhaps justly, celebrated for the breed and number of those 

" That other nature alauntz of bochery is suche as ze may 
always se in good townes that beth called grete bocher dogges." 
— MSS. of Edmond de Langley, son of Edward III. 

The bull-dogs kept by the butchers of Southampton in the 
reign of Henry VII., for the purpose of baiting bulls, seem to 
have been a terror to the town from being allowed to run about 

3. Barnard Castle Bridge Wedding Ehyme. 

My blessing on your pates, 

Your groat's in my purse ; 
You are never the better, 

And I am never the worse. 

Alexander Hylton, curate of Denton, of the ancient family of 
Hylton of Pyons or Dyance, near Piercebridge, in this county, 
left a son Cuthbert, of great notoriety, who having taken orders 
in no Church, but having been trained up as Bible-clerk under 
his father, considered himself as fully competent to perform 
marriages upon the bridge of Barnard Castle which connects 
the counties of York and Durham. The above is said to be the 
rhyme which, after having first made the parties leap over a 
broomstick, he made use of on these occasions. But in fact it 
is evidently nothing more than a parody on an ancient rhyme 
which was used as a charm by reputed witches in the cure of 
certain diseases, viz.: — 

Your loaf is in my lap, 

And your penny is in my purse ; 

You are never the better, 
And I am never the worse. 


4. Bonny Barney. 

Barnard Castle is popularly so-called, but the alliterative pro- 
priety would not only be greater, but also truer, if it were 
termed Black or Blackguard Barney. 

5. Come ! come ! that's Barney Castle ! 

An expression often uttered when a person is heard making a 
had excuse in a still icorse cause. 

G. Barnard Castle ; the last place that God made. 

This derisive saying is not strictly in accordance with the idea 
which it is intended to convey. The fact is, that Barnard 
Castle is surrounded on all sides with extensive pasture, meadow, 
and tillage lands ; whereas the proverb conveys to the stranger 
the idea that it is situated, as it were, in the midst of a vast 
howling wilderness. — [See notes to the poem of Roheby^ cant. ii. 
No. 1.] 

I have heard the saying applied to two other not far distant 
vills, viz., Cockfield and Toft Hill ; and in both of the latter 
cases there is a nearer approach to the figure of speech, as they 
are both mai'gined, on one side at least, by extensive ranges of 

The probability is great that the same saying is used, varying 
only as regards the name of the place, in almost every county 
in Great Britain. In fact it is one of a very common-place 
character, and scarcely deserving of notice in any collection of 
popular archaeology. 

Barnard Castle for a long series of years has been celebrated 
for the manufacture of ginger-bread. The family of Monk- 
house followed the trade of ginger-bread bakers for several 
generations, bringing up large families in an extremely credit- 
able and respectable manner. 



Bj ])arodying the quaint old rhyme anent Castor and Nor- 
wich, it is equally true and applicable of Barnard Castle and 
Marwood. The town of Marwood stood close to the present 
town of Barnard Castle ; the only remains of it is a religious 
building, now converted into a dwelling-house. 

Marwood was a town when Barney Castle was nane, 
And Barney Castle was built wi' Marwood stane. 


1. Evenwood, 

Where never straight tree stood. 

The prevailing south-west gales have full sweep over the 
manor of Evenwood, and the few trees that appear there are 
generally stunted and misshapen. 

The village of Evenwood is situated on the south side of the 
Gaunless river, about five miles west-south-west of Bishop 

2. You've been at Evenwood, where never 
A straight tree grew. 

Or, occasionally in a rhyming form, thus : — 

3. You've been to Evenwood, 

Where straight tree never stood. 

Said of a person with an extremely crooked staff. 

Sockburn, where Conyers so trusty 

A huge serpent did dish-up, 

That had else eat the bish-up : 
But now his old falchion's grown rusty, 
Grown rusty. 

The antiquity of this rhyme is very much questioned by 
northern antiquaries, who tell us that the late Robert Surtees, 
Esq., of Mainsforth, was the father of more than one rhyme of 


similar cliaraeler. Well ! and what if he truly were so ! 
Ehymes and Proverbs do not, like mushrooms, spring out of 
the earth ; some one or other has either spoken or written them 
all ; and I can see no sufficient reason to object against Mr. 
Surtees, or any other modern, writing a local rhyme, as 
well as the " oulde aunciente faders of Antiquitie," as Master 
"Wynkyn de "Worde would call them. 

In connection with the above verses, there is a very singular 
legend and custom, both of which are to be met with in any of 
the County Histories or Gazetteers. [The " Sockburn Sword" 
under the name of the " Conjers Falchion,^' is figured in Arch. 
ySliana, N.s. vol. xv. plates xx. xxi. xxii. (pp. 214-7) 1891. 

Kain in April, rain in May, 

Or Mainsforth farewell [to] corn and hay. 

Mainsforth stands on a dry gravelly soil, and requires fre- 
quent moisture. Its situation is extremely open and airy. It 
is three miles north-west of Sedgefield. 


1. I've been as far travelled as Sedgefield, 
Where the folks call strea — Straw ! 

Sedgefield, a small market-town, is situated about eleven 
miles south-south-east of Durham. It is considered a remark- 
ably healthy parish. Dr. Askew called it the 

2. Montpellier of the North. 

To meet with persons here of 80, 90, or even 100 years of 
age, is no uncommon circumstance. 

3. To go at a thing, like a Sedgefield Hunt. 
Kot knowing the peculiarities of the sportsmen of Sedge- 
field, I am sorry that I am unable to illustrate this bishoprick 


4. A Sedgefield Chap. 
The Knave of Clubs. I am ignorant that Sedgefield is any 
more proverbial for the vulgarity of the lower orders of its 
inhabitants than any other town of similar size. 

Varied, to 

Go to Shields 
And fish for eels. 

And shave Ducks. 

Another equally inelegant bishoprick malediction. {See 
page 46.) 

In the localities surrounding the palace of Falkland, N.B., 
are traditionally preserved many old sayings, which the guid 
folks of the present generation attribute to the ancient denizens 
of the royal domain. " Fruchie, a little village about a mile 
from the palace, was assigned as a place of temporary banish- 
ment and penance for courtiers who had incurred the royal 
displeasure ; and hence, it is said, the common ejaculation, 
when any one wishes to get rid of an obnoxious person, ' Gro to 
Fruchie,' which is certainly a much more civil mandate than 
many maledictions enunciated in modern days." — Castles and 
Prisons of Mary of Scotland. 

Ovington Edge and Cockfield Fell 

Are the coldest spots 'twixt Heaven and Hell. 

Ovington is a village near Greta Bridge, in Yorkshire. 
Cockfield is near Staindrop, in the bishoprick of Durham. 
They are both lofty and extremely exposed places. 

Like Dalton bell-rope. 

That is, a deed half-done. A story is told how, after many 
vestry meetings liolden by the principal inhabitants of this place 
to take into consideration the propriety of purchasing a new 


rope for the one bell of their parish church, the churchwardens 
and ratepayers at last came to the conclusion that the old one 
should be spliced. [A similar story is told of Ancroft bell-rope. 
Ancroft is in North Durham.] 

An otter in the Wear you may find but once a year, 
But an otter in the Tees you may find at your ease. 

Otters are by no means uncommon in the Tees at the present 
day; and, if we grant the rhyme a little license, it is, to a 
certain extent, true. 

Fuller says that an otter is as destructive to fish as the wolf 
is to sheep. In Ireland the country people call the otter the 
Devil's water dog. 

May the Tees prove a Teazer to the Tyne akd to the Thames. 

A very allowable bishoprick wish. It is curious for its 

To Warn the Water. 

To warn — i.e., to give notice. 

This peculiarly local expression is only heard in the lower or 
eastern vales of the river Tees — a stream which, from the 
rapidity of its upper course, and from the numerous tributary 
rivers and smaller streams it receives in its passage down to the 
village of Croft, often rises very suddenly, and occasionally to 
the depth of nine, and even more, extra feet of water. The 
consequence was that, at a not very distant period, an inhabi- 
tant of Hurworth, who we may term the Warner of the Water, 
was usually despatched to Yarm, to give the inhabitants of that 
toAvn notice of its approach. On the morning of Sunday, the 
17th November, 1771, the whole town of Yarm — (not so much* 
as a single house excepted) — was laid under water. Six dwell- 
ing-houses were totally demolished and seven persons drowned. 


In the medieval period a warning of the waters, in the 
distant vales of Northumberland, was a warning of a very 
opposite character ; and was used to give notice of the approach 
of their Scottish neighbours when making an inroad in search 
of the beeves and muttons of the equally thievish Northumbrians, 
in the ballad of Jamie Telfer, old Buccleuch is made to say : 

Gar warn the water braid and wide, 
Warn "Wat o' Harden and his sons, 
Wi' them will Borthwick water ride. 

In the ballad of Hobbie Noble we also meet with the following 
illustration : 

Gar warn the bows of Hartlie-burn, 
See they sharp arrows on the wa' ; 

Warn Willeva and Spear Edom, 
And see the morn they meet me a'. 

When Roseberry Topping wears a hat, 
Morden-Carrs will suffer for that. 

Near and adjoining unto Morden, an extensive manor within 
the parish of Sedgefield, lies that large level called the Carrs, 
containing many hundred acres. In winter this track is fre- 
quently overflowed, and then forms an immense sheet of water ; 
at which time vast flocks of wild geese, and ducks, &c., &c., 
resort thither. The river Skerne, which Hollinshed is pleased 
to term a " pretie water," has its source in this marsh near 
Trimdon, in the parish of Kelloe. 


1 . Bump against Jarrow. 

This is a common proverbial expression amongst keelmen 
and others when they run foul of anything. 


The laddie ran sweaten, ran sweaten, 

The laddie ran sweaten about, 
Till the keel went bump against Jarrow, 

And three of the bullies lap out. 

Song, The Little Pee Dee. 

2. It's never Dark in Jarrow Church. 

This is one of the monkish fables with which the counties of 
Durham and Northumberland abound, and the saying has no 
doubt been handed down from an extremely early period. 

Hartlepool, where the man was smoored to death 
Sinking for a draw-well in his father's backside. 

The above singular phrase is valuable if only as an illustration 
of the word " backside," as used in the dialects of the north of 
England. This half -laughable tragedy actually befel the person 
of one Nicholas "Ward, the 10th February, 1715-16, and stands 
recorded in one of the register-books belonging to Hartlepool 

Headlam Hens lay twice a day. 

A gentle hint in the place of one more discourteous : to wit, 
that of telling a person he's a liar. Headlam, a small village 
in the extensive Saxon parish of Gainford. 

A Brussleton Ceacker. 

Brussleton, a small hamlet, near West Auckland. This say 
ing is derived from the fact that the coals dug from the mines 
at this place, being so full of pyrites (vidgo, crackers), are con- 
tinually exploding and casting forth their sulphureous perfumes, 
to the great dread and anno}?ance of every one sitting round the 
hearthstone. It is also applied to a variety of other sorts of 


Up wi' leede,* and down wi' breede,f 
Is what we drink at Wardale| Heede.§ 

As the rhyme stands in the text the sense is extremely 
indefinite ; but if we give the word want in lieu of that of 
drink, we arrive at what we may suppose to be the wishes of 
the inhabitants, who are nearly all lead-miners, and at the 
sense too. 

Varia : 

Dear lead and cheap bread 

Makes full pockets at "Weardale Head. 

Since writing the above note I have consulted a literary 
friend, long resident in Weardale, who tells me that he has 
often heard the rhyme quoted as it stands at the head of this 
article. He further says, " It's real meaning you will more 
readily understand by putting it thus : 

Up wi' leede, and down wi' breede, 

Is the toast we drink at Wardale Heede ; 

and I hope that this will prove satisfactorily to you that the poor 
fell-side folks neither drink their leede nor yet their breede." 

This local rhyme reminds me of the still more popular one 
spoken of the Cobbler's Wife, viz.: — 

The meal cheap, and shoon dear. 
The cobbler's wife likes well to hear. 

Hungry- Heaton. 

This name is popularly given to the village of Hutton-Honry, 
near Monk Hesleton. The reason I know not. 

* Lead. t ^read. f Weardale. § Head. 


From Axwell Park to Sliotley, 

A squirrel could leap from tree to tree. 

Axwell Park, in the townsliip of Winlatoii and parish of 
Eyton, is the seat of the family of Clavering, descendants of 
Serlo de Burg, a follower of William the Conqueror. 

By Shotley we must understand Shotley Bridge, on the south 
side of the river Derwent, in the township of Benfieldside and 
parish of Lanchester. 

Living witnesses, I have been told, still exist who can attest 
the fact recorded in the rhymes. 

[To this there are two Scotch parallels : 


From Bathket moss to Barbachlee 
Ane cat could loup frae tree to tree. 

From Culbirnie to the sea 

You may step from tree to tree. — J. H.] 

Durham-"— THE most Northern County in England. 

At no distant period, not only Xorthallerton, Craike, and 
Howdenshire in Yorkshire, belonged to this county but also 
Bedlingtonshire, N orhamshire and Islandshire, on the north and 
north-east of Northumberland ; the two latter districts including 
the following five parishes : Ancroft, Holy Island or Lindisfarne, 
Kyloe, Norham, and Tweedmouth. 

A Sunderland Ball. 

A saying used at the noble and manly game of cricket. It is 
also varied to a '' Newcastle Ball," i.e., a bad one. 

Binchester Pennies. 
Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, is the site of a Roman 


city. Ancient copper coins are continually found here which 
the neighbouring people call Binchester pennies. Similar coins 
found at Piersbridge [the Magis ad Tisam or Condatum of the 
Romans] are called toft pieces or pennies. In Hampshire they 
are called 07i{on pennies ; in Northamptonshire coster or caster 
])ence ; at Tadcaster, Yorkshire, Langharrow pennies ; and in 
the neigbourhood of Leeds^ Saracen's heads. 


That is, did my work quickly and roughly. But as to 
whether it alludes to the village of that name in the bishopric 
or the celebrated General Washington I dare not at present 
decide. The saying is very common in the north of England. 


Benfieldside, in the parish of Lanchester, is celebrated as the 
site of one of the earliest Quaker meeting-houses in England. 


Hang-Bank, Legs-Cross, and Bildershaw, 
Make many a horse to pufF and blaw. 

Legscross Hill and Bildershaw, 
Make many a horse to piifF and blaw. 

Three long and lofty hills, the former near Melsonby in York- 
shire and the other between Piersebridge * and West Auckland 
in the bishopric. Upon the top of Legs- Cross Hill is a curious 
memorial stone, or rather stones, for there are thrti , and on 
this spot tradition says at a very early period two Kings of 
England and Scotland signed a League or Treaty of Peace. 
Hence the corrupted name. It is also said that from this Cross 
King James I. of England viewed Baby Castle and pronounced 
it to be the fairest castle in his dominions. 

* The author lived at Piersebridge. 


Bishop Auckland i' Bisho'brigg, God help me ! 

Bishop Auckland used at no very distant period to be pro- 
verbiallj famous for beggars and thieves. Almost every beggar 
if asked where he came from used to answer in a most pitiful 
tone that he came from Bishop Auckland. It even still 
retains a little of its quondam celebrity. Many parallel pro- 
verbs exist, viz.: — 

Saffron Walden, God help me ! 
Binsey, God help me ! 
Tickhill, God help me ! 

When there's never a hare on Garmondsway Moor, 
In Bishop-Middleham there's never a whoore. 

The rhyme does not speak very favourably of certain fair 
dames in Middleham in county Dunelm. 


It is probable this saying had its origin in the Commonwealth 
period. Tradition still tells a story how John Brabant, a 
soldier in Cromwell's army, came with a file of soldiers to eject 
the old vicar who had held the living full forty years. His 
parishioners, however, we are told fought right valiantly on the 
occasion and got possession of the pulpit, which they looked 
upon as their chief stronghold. Brabant made a soldierlike 
retreat into the chancel, where, mounting the communion-table 
and placing a brace of horse-pistols by his side, he there stood 
and preached a long sermon. After this event Brabant retained 
possession of not only the pulpit but also what he no doubt 
would esteem more highly the proceeds of the living. 


Eound about Ferry-Hill, Hey for Hett, 
There's mony a bonny lass, but few to get. 

A rhyme extremely opposite to the one above given. Ferry- 
Hill and Hett are two villages at no great distance from 

As to the rare predilection of the lasses of these two localities 
for the happy state of single-blessedness, I can in no form or 
fashion rationally account, but will not omit making inquiries 
into the truthfulness, &c., of the rhyme the first time I am in 
either of those maidish districts. 

Trimdon Trough-legs stands on a hill, 
Poor silly Fishburn stands stock-still ; 
Butterwick walls are like to fall, 
But Sedgefield is the flower o' them all. 

The village of Trindon, as the rhyme hints, stands on a hill, 
and is situated about three and a-half miles north-east of Sedge- 
field. Tradition says that it was here King Canute and his 
suite doffed their shoon and trimmed their beards, and had their 
polls shorn, ere they set out on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. 
Cuthbert at Durham. Fishburn is rather a pretty village in the 
parish of Sedgefield. The hamlet of Butterwick is also situated 
in the same parish. Sedgefield, a large and highly respectable 
village, or rather decayed market-town, stands pleasantly and 
healthfully on a prominent swell of gravel ground, open to every 
aspect. The whole of the adjacent lands are in a very high 
state of cultivation. 

A "Walk to Hendon Gardens, 

A walk to meet a sweetheart at this spot of assignation. The 
Hendon Gardens lie to the south of Sunderland. There used to 
be a Lover s Walk between the gardens and Hendon forty years 
ago ! 


A Crow shall sit upon Bolani Cross and drink blood a yard high. 

A foolish old proj)hecy, which tradition ascribes to Mother 
Shipton, the Yorkshire witch, who, in common with Robin 
Goodfellow, Oliver Cromwell, and the Devil, has more laid 
to her charge than she was guilty of. 

(1) The popular version gives "has to " instead of " shall." 




" We live hy Rapine^ — The Mosstrooper's Motto. 

Well-i-wa, sal ys homes blaw, 

Haly-rode this day ; 
Now es he dede, and lies law, 

Was wont to blaw them ay. 

Variorum reading — 

Wei, qwa sal thir homes blau, 

Haly Eod thi day ? 
Now is he dede and lies law 
Was wont to blaw thaim ay*^ 

Sir Cuthbert Sharp in his BisJiopricJc Garland observes, " that 
this is the oldest genuine rhyme connected with the county of 
Durham. It is a lamentation on the death of Eobert Neville, 
Lord of Raby, in the year mcclxxxii, in allusion to the ancient 
custom of offering a stag at the high altar of Durham Priory on 
Holy-rood Day (Sept. 18), which ceremony was accompanied by 
the winding of horns. There is no doubt whatever but that the 
above rhyme is as old as the thirteenth century, yet to call it 
' the very oldest rhyme of the north ' is all but ridiculous. True, 
it is the " most auncientest " which has been handed down to us 


in its genuine antique English dress, and for this we must thank 
some good scribe of oulden time. Yet we have many others, 
which have not been so fortunate as to meet with a nourice of 
antiquities to chronicle them in a bake, which I question not can 
boast of a much earlier origin, and which, I feel confident, 
neither Mr. Surtees nor yet Sir Cuthhert Sharp {our righte loorthie 
bishoprick knyghte, and popular archaeologist) would have written 
down as juniors of the one quoted in the text." 

A Weardale Wolf. 

A reproach rather uncharitably bestowed on the male portion 
of the population of that district of the county of Durham. 

" Thir Weardale men, they have good hearts, 

They are as stiff as any tree, 
For, if they'd every man been slain, 

Never a foot back man would flee. 

Ballad of the RooTchope Hyde. 

At present the men of Weardale bear the still more undignified 
title of " Weardale Gowks." 

1. Bellasis, Bellasis, base was thy sowl, 

When thou exchanged Bellasis for Henknowl. 

2. Bellasys, Bellasys, daft was thy sowel. 
When exchanged Bellasys for Henknowel. 

3. Johnny tuth Bellas, daft was thy poll, 
When thou chang'd Bellas for Henknoll. 

4. Belasise, Belassis, daft was thy nowle. 
When thou gave Bellassis for Henknowle. 

5. Bellasys, Be'lysys, base was thy sowel, 
When exchanged Bellysys for Henknowell. 


A version of the foregoing rhymes is preserved in a window in 
the fine old parish church of St. Andrew, Auckland, inscribed on 
a belt, encircling the arms of the Bellasis family. The popular 
traditional version of the neighbourhood is recorded in reading 
three. Numbers four and five are the readings of Collins and 
Hutchinson respectively. 

In 1380 a commission was granted empowering the con- 
vent of Durham to exchange with Bellasis, Henknoll, near 
Auckland, for lands near Wolviston. The exchange was favour' 
able to the church. John de Bellasys having made a vow to go 
upon the Crusades, and a strong affection for his native place of 
Bellasys prevailing, likely to stagger ' his pious resolutions, he 
determined to shake off that yoke, root out all partialities, and 
part with the estate of his ancestors, the regard for which stood 
in competition with his imaginary virtues. 

Short Red is good Eed ; slea ye the Bishop. 

So intolerable were the severities exercised by Walcher, Bishop 
of Durham, in his civil and ecclesiastical government, that he 
became odious to the people. On the 14th of May, 1780, 
he held a public assembly of his council and clergy at Gates- 
head, where a number of the people met to revenge the death of 
a popular Saxon noble and his family, he murderers of whom 
Walcher allowed to go unpunished. The multitude, rejecting 
all proposals, beset the house with loud clamour, and the above 
sentence being pronounced as a watchword, they drew their 
arms and butchered all the guards. The bishop retreated to the 
church, but the infuriated people set fire to it and put every one 
to death who attempted to escape. The prelate was the last 
to fly, and, having put up a prayer to Heaven, he advanced 
towards the multitude and was instantly pierced to the heart 
with a lance ; after which, his death not staying their barbarity, 



they inhumanly mangled his body with their swords. The 
modern reading of the above proverb is, " Short counsel is good 
counsel; slayye the bishop.^'' 

A coward ! a coward ! o' Barney Castle, 
Dare na' come out to fight a battle ! 

This saying, which is very common, in all probability refers 
to the " Eising in the North," 1569, and might be contempt- 
uously thrown by the besieging army of Percy and Neville in 
the teeth of Sir George Bowes, who, acting upon the defensive, 
had shut himself up in Barnard Castle. Sir Cuthbert Sharp 
notices this reproachful saying in his Memorials of tlie Rehellion^ 
1569. It is occasionally varied to cowardly, cowardly, &c. &c. 

The black lion under the oaken tree 

Makes the Saxon to fight and the Normans to flee. • 

Varia, as given by a female of the Brackenbury family, whose 
name she bore : 

The Brackenbury under the tree 

Made the Normans conquer and the Saxons flee. 

The crest of the ancient family of Brackenbury, of Sellaby, 
near Gainford, is. Or, a tree vert, under which is a lion couchant, 
sable. Neither history nor tradition has handed down to pos- 
terity any memorial in confirmation of the truth of the above 
couplet. That they were a military family there is no doubt, 
for I find that Robert, son of Sir William de Brackenbury, was, 
with thirty others, appointed, tenth of Bishop Richard de Bury, 
4 February, 1342, to array all the defensible men in Dar- 
lington Ward to oppose the Scots. Sir Robert de Brackenbury 
was Constable of the Tower of London, temp. Richard III. 


The Bloody Brackenburies. 

One of the first acts of the third Richard, on ascending a 
usurped throne, was to send for Sir Robert de Brackenbury, 
Constable of the Tower, whom he commanded to put the young 
princes — Edward V. and his brother, Eichard, Duke of York — 
to death. On Sir Robert observing *' that he knew not how to 
dip his hands in blood j^^ the king desired him to resign to others, 
for a single night, the keys and custody of the regal fortress. 
In complying with this order it is difficult to say, at this period, 
how far Brackenbury deserved blame ; though to speak of him 
as a high-minded person, because he refused himself to perpetrate 
a crime, which he made no effort to prevent others from com- 
mitting, is to go very far beyond what the rules of moral justice 
will sanction. Be that as it may, a fit instrument was found in 
the person of Sir James Tyrrel, who again employed meaner 
assassins under him, and the poor children were the same night 
suffocated in their sleep, and buried at the foot of the stairs, 
under a heap of stones. 

An ancient tower in connection with Barnard Castle, by an 
odd circumstance, bears the name of Brackenbury's Tower, a 
name which we naturally associate with imprisonment and 
blood ! 

Solum Dunelmensb stola jus dicet et ense. 

The Bishop of Durham has the power of presiding in person 
in any of the courts of judicature ; even when judgment of 
blood is given he may sit attired in his purple robes, though the 
canons forbid any clergyman to be present on such occasions. 
Hence the above saying. Previous to the reign of Henry VIII. 
the Bishops of Durham could create barons, appoint judges, 
^''onvoke Parliaments, raise taxes, and coin money. This see 



was anciently called the Patrimony of St. Cuthhert ; and the 
inhabitants considered themselves St. Cuthbert's llaiijiverke- 
folke, exempt from all other but holy work, i.e. the defence of 
St. Cuthbert's body. They claimed to hold their land by this 
tenure, and refused to serve out of the bishoprick either for 
king or bishop. The Bishop of Durham, as Count Palatine, 
was lord of the whole county. He sustains two characters in 
one person, and is to this day, and has been from time imme- 
morial, styled on all claims in the King's Court, " Episcopus 
Duuelmensis et Comes Sadberge." 

The Collingwoods have borne the name, 
Since in the bush the buck was ta'n : 
But when the busli shall hold the buck, 
Then farewell * faith, and farewell luck. 

The crest of the Collingwoods is a stag at full gaze, under 
an oak-tree proper. A branch of this family (originally of 
Eslington, county Northumberland) was seated in the county 
of Durham, at Dalden, Eppleton, and Hetton-on-the-Hill. 
[From the Bishoprick Garland.^ 

The Brave Boweses. 

A deserving and well-earned characteristic bestowed in olden 
time upon one of the most ancient and time-honoured families 
of the bishopric. 

The castle of Bowes, under Stanemoor, was built by Allan 
Niger, the first Earl of Richmond^ wherein he placed his rela- 
tive Gulielmus (who for the nonce assumed the name of 
Arcubus) as lieutenant over five hundred archers. The earl 
also bestowed upon him his own shield with the arms of 
Bretagne, and three bows and a bundle of arrows for his 
standard. Tradition assigns to him the ancestorship of the 

* Varia, welcome. 


famous and knightly family of Bowes of Streatlam Castle. Sir 
William Bowes was created knight-banneret at the battle of 
Poictiers, 1346. Sir Eobert Bowes was created knight-ban- 
neret at the siege of Roan, 1419. Sir William Bowes was 
knighted at the battle of Vermoyle, in France, 1424. Sir Ralph 
Bowes was knighted at the battle of Flodden, 1514. Sir George 
Bowes, knight, heir male of the whole family, withstood the 
rebellion of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, 
and was by special commission made knight-marshal north of 
the Trent. He died 1580, aged 53. In glancing over the 
Bowes pedigree we meet with the following names honourable 
for their antiquity, viz. : Trayne, Lilburne, Conyers, the family 
of Greystock, Fitzhugh, Hilton, Bulmer, Eure, Aske, Mallory, 
Collingwood, Musgrave, Talbot, Blakiston, Salvin^ Yerney, 
Challoner, Liddel. In a MS. {temp, sixteenth century) epitaph 
of this family still preserved we read as follows : — 

Happie, thrice happy England was thou then esteem'd, 
When those brave Bowes did in thy blessed realm abound, 

But as unhappie now thou may be justly deem'd, 
For fiewe, alas ! suche Bowes can in thyself be found. 

QmcQUiD Bex habet extra Episcopus habet intra. 

A legal Latin maxim applicable up to the reignof Henry YIII. 
to the Palatinate of Durham. This county became palatinate 
soon after if not anterior to the Norman Conquest ; the bishops 
exercising within the county jura regalia as strictly as the 
reigning monarchs did in other parts of their dominions, regu- 
lem, potestatem in omnibus, as Bracton. who wrote in the reign 
of Henry VIIL, expresses it. Most of these princely honours 
and privileges were taken away in the reign of the above-named 


God Save the Bull of Westmoreland. 

The warlike prayer of a feudal period used by the retainers 
and followers of the Nevilles of Raby and Brancepeth. 

Eobert Pierson, Vicar of Sockburn (1567) in the bishopric, 
was an adventurer in a great lottery which was drawn in the 
above year ; and upon his ticket he wrote the above prayer by 
way of motto, poesy or device, which sufficiently bewrays his 
strong attachment to the noble Nevilles' house. His prayers, 
however, availed it not. 

Saufey Money. 

Protection money formerly paid by many of the inhabitants 
of the counties of Durham and Northumberland to marauders, 
in consideration of their not stealing their cattle. A corruption 
of safety money, — Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, 
vol. ii. p. 110. 

Sweet Jesse, for thy mercy's sake, 

And for thy bitter passion, 
Save us from the axe of the Tower, 

And from Sir Ralph of Ashton. 

According to one tradition the above rhymes commemorated 
the valiant actions of one Ashton at the battle of Neville's Cross 
in this county ; where he, of whom no historical or traditional 
particulars are known, rode through the ranks of the enemy and 
bore away the royal standard from the tent of the Scottish 
king. For this act of heroism he was knighted by Edward III. 
To commemorate his own valour he is said to have instituted 
the following custom, and to have left ten shillings yearly (now 
reduced to five shillings) in support of it, along with his own 
suit of black velvet and a coat of mail, the helmet of which still 


Another account says that tlie rhymes were composed in dis- 
honour of Sir Ralph Ashton, or Asheton, who in the latter part 
of the fifteenth century exerted great severity as vice-constable. 
The ancient custom of ^' Hidincr the Black Lad " at Ashton- 
under- Lyne on Easter Monday, which consists in carrying an 
effigy on horseback through the town, shooting at it, and finally 
burning it, -is alleged to have taken its origin from this indi- 
vidual, who, according to tradition, was shot as he was riding 
through the principal street. 

Altogether the traditions touching both the custom and the 
origin of the rhymes are extremely conflicting. 

Addenda to the Ehymes, etc., of the Bishoprick. 

Further variations of the Brackenbury Rhymes {see those 
already given, pp. 98, 99). 

3. The Black Lion under the oaken tree, 
Made the Normans fight and the Saxons flee. 

4. The Black Lion under the tree, 

Made the Norman to fight and the Saxons to flee. 

A version of these rhymes is said to have been inscribed on 
the tomb of Perse Brackenbury, a companion of the Conqueror, 

Gain ford, where the parson married a Pigg, 
Christened a Lamb, and buried a Hogg. 

And what makes the thing more remarkable is, that these 
three religious duties were performed on three consecutive days, 
eg., John Pigg being married on a Saturday, Henry Lamb 
christened on Sunday, and John Hogg buried on Monday. — 
(Vide Gainford Church Register Book. The Rev. John Cranke, 
B.D., vicar. The Rev. Marmaduke TheakstonCj curate, 1814.) 


Barnard Castle 

A Briggate bred-un. 

That is a female of a certain class born in Barnard Castle, 
and bred up in that Billingsgate portion of the town, yclept 
Briggate, or as the modern inhabitants of the said foul, filthy, 
foetid alley would gladly have it called, " Bridge Street ! " 

He's ltke a Stanhope Pan — black both inside and outside. 

Occasionally it has been my fate to come in contact with 
certain specimens of humanity who have been in these unhappy 
circumstances. May I, however, so conduct myself in my 
dealings with fellow-men that no one, no, not even my enemy, 
may ever be able to say that my heart is in a condition similar 
to that of a Stanhope Pan. 

The saying is from the Scottish border. 

The Devil's Dean. 

Dean "Whittingham, who was appointed 19 July, and in- 
stalled 8 Oct. 1563, was so called by his enemies. He was 
a violent opposer of the sacerdotal vesture, and certainly was 
guilty of numerous acts which have rendered his very name 
execrable, not only to theologians, but also to archaeologists. 
Richard Bancroft calls him " the false and unworthy Dean of 
Durham." In fact, he was a rank Calvinist, and kept the 
Church of Durham in a continual disturbance, till at last the 
State saw it necessary to interfere. He died at Durham, 
10 June, 1579, and was buried in the cathedral church. 

Tyne, Tume, or Twme Tabard. 

This epithet or nickname was bestowed on John Buliol by the 
Scots, on account of his supposed cowardice, in that he con- 


ceded to England liis independent sovereignty, and as a conse- 
quence his armorial insignia. So that, as Wyntown, in his 
Chronikil^ vol. ii. pp. 88, 89, expresses it, by his enemies 
" Twyme-Tabart he was callyt efterwart." 

By some 1 yne is looked upon as a misprint for Tume, yet Tyne 
may be the true reading Tume-Tabart, i.e., empty coat. To 
Tyme, signifies to lose, and by implication, that Baliol had lost 
his heraldic coat. 

A HuREOCK OF Stones. 

The escheat of Raby, it is understood, was purchased for the 
sum of £10,000, It is furthermore said, that when Sir Harry 
Vane was driving the bargain for the castle and estates with the 
king and the citizens of London, he told the king that Raby 
Castle was only a liurrock of stones. When King Jamie, who 
afterwards visited Sir Harry at the noble pile of Raby, saw the 
stately feudal castle, with its many tours and grete chaumbres 
and hawles (in one of which the noble Nevilles of olden time 
did, it is said, " once upon a time " entertain '' seven hundred 
knights, who held of the family "), he could not but remark to 
Sir Harry : " Did thou na' say that Eaby Castle was only a 
hurrock of stanes ! Ah ! mon, I hae nae sic anither hurrock 
in a' ma' dominions." 

Hurrock. — This word is still used in the various dialects of 
the North to express a piled-up heap of loose stones or rubbish ; 
in fact, a collection of anything in a loose state. 

Little London. 

A certain locale in the otherwise pretie littel towne of Bishop 
Auckland is so designated, and is inhabited by muggers, 
tinkers, fawes, and gypsies. A Christian lady (the late Mrs. 
Dobson) visited one of these poor people when dying. Mrs. D. 


found her very ignorant, and, speaking to lier of Jesus Christ 
Avas answered by this English heathen that she had never heard 
of the gentleman. Being, however, further pressed on the sub- 
ject, she at length confessed that she once went into a Methodist 
meeting-house at Darlington, and she had heard the gentleman 
spoken of there ! ! 

I have the highest authority for the truthfulness of the above 
bisho'brigg anecdote. 

He's fit to Keep Company with the Lambtons. 

In the northern portion of the bishoprick, and southern 
border of Northumberland, they have an old saw, when speak- 
ing of a dashing, flashing, stylish fellow, " Oh I he's fit to keep 
company with the Lambtons." 


Two namesakes of late, in a different way, 
With much spirit and zeal did bestir 'em; 
The one was transported to Botany Bay, 
The other translated to Durham. 

Barrington, the notorious pickpocket, and the Hon. Shute 
Barrington, Bishop of Durham, were contemporaries ; and 
nearly at the same time the former was transported for felony, 
and the latter promoted from the Bishopric of Salisbury to the 
rich see of Durham. 

To record these two events a certain scribe of the day writ the 
above epigram. 


The NevHls in future ages shall be known 
Both by their mother's virtues and their own. 

Cheviot, a Poetical Fragment. 

" The names of the Percies and Nevilles have long been 

honourable and well beloved." — Thomas Norton's Address to the 

Rebels, 1569. 

A Gatesider. 

A low bred vulgar fellow. 

A Stanhope "Wolf. 
The above designation is, I understand, equally as applicable 
to the natives of the above town as that of Weardale Wolf is to 
the natives of the dale in general. It also has a local appro- 
priateness, inasmuch as there is a ravine within a few miles of 
Stanhope, which still retains the name of Wolf-Cleugh. There 
is also proof from a Roman altar, still preserved at the rectory 
manse, which commemorates the capture of a wild hoar, that 
that animal (as well as the wolf) was an inhabitant of the 
primitive forests of Weardale. 

Weardale weaker and wiser, 
Hurwood bigger and fonder. 

This saying alludes to the bodily and intellectual strength of 
the peoples inhabiting the above two somewhat out-of-the-way 
districts. Harwood is situate almost at the head of the river 
Tees, and is separated from Weardale by a narrow mountain 

He has found a Pot of Gold in the Castle Garth. 
(Extracts from a Poem. Scene, Stockton-on-Tees.) 
A castle there you may behold, 
Seated upon a rising ground, 
Where many a weighty Pot of Gold, 
Is hidden all around ; 
But how folks came there gold to leave 
I can't conceive. 


The gold that's buried all belonged 
Unto this mighty giant here ; 
His court with slaves was ever throng'd, 
His parks were always stocked with deer. 

Now underground there is his stable, 
Where yet remains the bones of camels, 
And men, if they are willing and able, 
May walk from thence into the shambles. 

There is a tradition that many urns or pots of gold are hidden 
here. It has also become a proverbial saying, if a man growls 
rich of a sudden, that he has found a pot of gold in the castle 
garth. There is also a tradition of a long cave, reaching from 
the burn to the shambles, inhabited, they tell you, by bones, 
gold, and hobgoblins, of which they tell many wonderful stories. 
— Newcastle Literary Register or Weekly Miscellany, 1772, 
vol. iv. p. 251. 

The demolition of Stockton Castle, a.d. 1652, is also chronicled 
in verse (?) by a local poet, thus — 

Old Noll in his day out of pious concern, 

This castle demolish'd, sold all but the barn. [J. H.J 

Ah Dunelmia ! Nimium Vicina Scotiae. 

^' While in the plenitude of his fortune Bishop Morton's 
charities and hospitality were abundant ; and so freely did the 
king and his courtiers make use of his liberality in their 
frequent journeys between London and Scotland that it became 
proverbial." — Barwick's Life of Morton. Brewster's Stockton, 
p. 48, ed. 1829.— [J. H.] 

Barney Castle Gingerbread. 

" The best in the world." So it is described by Mr, Brockett, 
Northern Glossary, p. 26, 3rd ed. So also wo have Shrewsbury 
cakes, Banbury cakes, and Everton toflfee. 


The Wishing Chair. 

Beneath a cliair in Finchale priory church is shown a seat 
said to have the virtue of removing sterility and procuring issue 
for any woman who, having performed certain ceremonies, sat 
down therein and devoutly loislied for a child. Tradition says 
that this seat v/as formerly in great repute, and, though of stone, 
it appears much worn by frequent suitors for pregnancy. 

It may, perhaps, be needless to observe, that since the removal 
of the monks it has entirely lost its efficacy. — Grose's Antiquities. 

Jolly-boddy and Shittlehope-side all of a raw, 
And then bonny Stanhope the best o' them a'. 

A fragmentary couplet of rough rhymes, merely descriptive of 
the position of the houses on a hill to the north of Stanhope. 

They're like Toft-Hill Stockings — They'll fit owther 
Lad or Man. 

Spoken of worthless and slightly-made apparel of any descrip- 
tion, possessing neither shape, make, form, nor fashion. 

"When Yarm sinks and Egglescliffe swims, Aislaby will be a 

Market Town. 

An old prophecy, said to have been uttered by a witch. Yarm, 
anciently Yareham and Yarum, is situated very low on the 
Yorkshire banks of the River Tees ; Egglescliffe, as its name 
imports, on a lofty acclivity on the bishoprick side of the river. 
It is traditionally believed that in days of yore a market was 
held in the village ; and in proof thereof the people point to the 
remains of a ruinated cross still standing in the open space in 
the " middest" of the village green. Aislaby, in the parish of 
Egglescliffe, is about one mile distant from Yarm. 


Hamsterley Hungertown stands on a hill ; 
Witton-le-Wear lies in a gill : * 
Wolsingham's proud, and breeds that at's Donnat,t 
Frosterley's poor, but has a good stomach. 

The pleasantly situated village of Hamsterley is about, seven 
miles west-by-north of Bishop Auckland. Witton-le-Wear is 
within the jurisdiction of St. Andrew Auckland, as also is 
Hamsterley. Both these villages are located as described in 
the text. 

Wolsingham is a small market-town and parish on the north 
banks of the river Wear. As to the pride and worthless, or 
rather devilish nature of its inhabitants, I cannot speak; yet 
feel bound to enter on record that, " once upon a time," now 
many long years ago, I was the recipient of almost unbounded 
kindness at the residence of a gentleman, still living there, and to 
whom at that period I was an entire stranger. 

Donnat : a worthless wretch ; also a provincialism for the 

Frosterley is a village in the parish of Stanhope. The 
phrase, " has a good stomach," I leave to the reader's imagi- 
nation to translate either by great eaters or high-spirited ^eop?e; 
only I prefer the latter, which is probably the correct meaning. 

Sitting in Bede's Chair. 

To this chair, still preserved in Jarrow church, many new- 
made brides repair on the completion of the matrimonial ser- 

* Witton-le-Wear stands on a sill. Sill is a term used by miners 
for any land that appears metalliferous. 

t Donnat is here used substantially [substantively ?] ; conse- 
quently the ellipsis [of the] must be understood. 


vice, and seat themselves therein. This is done under the 
hope of making tliemselves fruitful mothers of many children in 
all due time. 

[Three wishes are granted to those who sit in the saint's 
chair. " Some few years since this chair was entrusted to the 
custody of a j^erson who had been accustomed to nautical aflPairs, 
and who used, by a whimsical mistake, very excusable in a 
sailor, to exhibit it as a curiosity which formerly belonged to 
the great Admiral Bede, upon whose exploits he ventured 
several encomiums consistent with the naval character." — 
{Curiosities of the Pulpit ^ by Rev. Thomas Jackson, p. 32.) — 
[J. H.] 

Seaton sluice and Hartlepool mill, 

The one goes round, the other stands still. 

An old rhyme, in connection with which I can offer no 

The water of Hezzle well 
Will make tea by itself. 

Spoken of the waters of an excellent enclosed wayside spring, 
a little to the west of the village of Stainton, near Barnard 

Picktree and Pelaw, 
And Kickleton on the hill ; 
Lambton and Biddick, 
And Johnie Floater's mill. 

The first four places are in the parish of Chester-lc' Street. 
North Biddick, is on the Wear, in tlie parish of Washington. 
In this township is the celebrated Worm Rill. 


Thu Lang Man o' Bollyhope. 

The warriors on the [mountain] high 
Moving athwart the evening sky, 

Seem'd forms of giant lieight : 
Their armour as it caught the rays, 
riash'd back again the western blaze 

In lines of dazzling light. 

Bolliope, or Bf>llyliope, is a high ridge of black mountains, 

about four miles from Wolsingham. On the top of this dreary 

and sterile track is a ciirrack or curragh* [a pillar of stones], 

known by the name of March stones on the Border. Tradition 

states that one clear summer's evening, many long years ago, 

two tall figures were seen to meet on the top of the ridge, and 

at once proceed to mortal strife. The clash of arms was heard 

in the valley, and their forms, being set in relief against the 

clear blue sky, seemed to dilate to that of the giants of old. 

One of them was at length seen to fall, and the other, after 

hovering about for a short space, vanished from sight. On the 

morrow the mangled corpse of a tall man was found on the 

spot. No person, however, knew him ; neither was there any 

inquiry made after him. He was buried where he fell, and the 

pile of stones which was reared on his grave is now known 

as the 

Lang man o' Bollyhope ! 

They'll come back again like the Pigs o' Pelton. 

The origin and meaning of this saying is extremely obscure, 
perhaps it means much the same as 

They'll all come again as Goodyer's pigs did — never ! 

Bay^s Proverbs. 

There is a trifling variation or two of this Pelton saw, but 
unworthy of note. The version of the above and following 
proverb arc those used in South Durham. 

* This curragh is on the southernmost edge of Bollyhope. 


Thicker and Ranker like Pigs o' Pelton. 

There is a strange doggerel hominy, whicli Sir Cuthbert 
Sharp gives in his Bishoprick Garland, and says that it is still 
sung by some of the inhabitants of Pelton to their children j 
but no one is now aware of its application or origin. It fol- 
lows — 

The swine com jingling doun Pelton Ion in, 
The swine com jingling doun Pelton lonin, 
The swine com jingling doun Pelton lonin, 
There's five black swine and never an odd one : 
Three's i' the dike and two i' the lonin, 
Three i' the dike and two i' the lonin, 
Three i' the dike and two i' the lonin. 
There's five black swine and nerer an odd one. 

[Singularly, Mr. Denham has arranged this among the 
Northumbrian sayings, but it is now remanded to its true posi- 
tion — the Bishoprick. In Northumberland, however, the natives 
apply the same saying to Felton.] 

[" The Peacock of the North." 

Robert Neville, so called from his splendour. In 1316 he 
murdered Richard Fitzmarmeduk, his kinsman, upon Framwell- 
gate Bridge, in Durham. He was killed, two years afterwards, 
by James Earl of Douglas, whilst leading a lawless band of 
robbers into Scotland. His monumental effigy, in stone, 
remains in the north aisle of the church of Brancepeth. — Note 
in Depositions and other Ecclesiastical Proceedings in the Courts 
at Durham, p. 2. (Surtees' Soc. Pub.) — J. H.] 

[Red Robin. 
About half a mile north of the Long Bank, on the old 


Durham and Newcastle turnpike, near Low Eighton, or Ay ton, 
is a public-house, " whilom kept by Isabella Stephenson, which 
has long been known by the name of ^ Eed Robin's.' On its 
sign-board is a picture of the house, with the following lines 
underneath, as an invitation to travellers : — 

Eed Robin lives here, 
Sells good ale and beer ; 
Pass ye east or pass ye west, 
If ye pass here ye pass the best. 

" Robin Rogerson was the first ' Red Robin.' His son Philip 
bore the same title. Margaret Stephenson, the daughter of 
Philip, continued the house after her father's death, under the 
name of ' Red Peggy ' ; and her daughter, Isabella Stephenson, 
since the conductress of the establishment, is best known as 
' Red Bella.' It is said that this sobriquet was conferred upon 
the father of this red race in consequence of the great value he 
set upon a favourite red cock (a game cock) ; but he must have 
been indebted for his title to something besides the cock, other- 
wise he might with more propriety have been called ' Cock 
Robin ' than ' Red Robin.' Philip was so fond of his favourite 
colour, that he once appeared at Lamesley church completely 
dressed in red, even to the very hat and shoes ; and his suc- 
cessors have shown so steady an adherence to the hereditary 
partiality of the family as to have prefixed to their names the 
distinguishing title of ' Red.' " — Wilson's Pitmnn's Pay, 8fc. 
p. 61, note. — J. H.] 

Chakactbristics of a few Bishoprick Families. 

The beggarly Baliols. 

(So would our Scottish neighbours, at least, say.) 
The base Bellasis. 
The bloody Brackenburies. 
The bold Bertrams. 


The bauld Blakestones. 

The brave Bowes. 

The bare-boned Bulmers. 

The bacchanalian Burdons. 

The clacking Claxtons. 

The confident Conjers. 

The crafty Craddocks. 

The cozening Croziers. 

The eventful Evers. 

The friendly Forsters. 

The filthy Foulthorpes. 

The generous Garths. 

The handsome Hansards. 

The hoary Hyltons. 

The jealous Jennisons. 

The lamb-like (?) Lambtons. 

The light Lilburnes. 

The lofty Lumleys. 

The mad Maddisons. 

The manly Mairs. 

The noble Nevilles. 

The politic Pollards. 

The placid Places. 

The ruthless Ruths. 

The salvable Salvins. 

The shrewd Shadforths. 

The sure Surteeses. 

The testy Tailboyses. 

The wily Wilkinsons. 

The wrathful Wrens. 

As of birds so of men, the Wrens are the most pugnacious 
of all bipeds. 





Talking about fairies the other day to a nearly octogenarian 
female neighbour, I asked had she ever seen one in her youthful 
days. Her answer was in the negative ; " but," quoth she, 
" I've heard my grandmother tell a story that Midridge (near 
Auckland) was a great place for fairies when she was a child, 
and for many long years after that." A rather lofty hill, only 
a short distance from the village, was their chief place of resort, 
and around it they used to dance, not by dozens but by hun- 
dreds, when the gloaming began to show itself of the summer 
nights. Occasionally a villager used to visit the scene of their 
gambols in order to catch, if it were, but a passing glance of 
the tiny folks, dressed in their vestments of green, as delicate 
as the thread of the gossamer, for well knew the lass so favoured 
that ere the current year had disappeared she would have 
become the happy wife of the object of her only love ; and also 
as well kenn'd the lucky lad that he, too, would get a Areel- 
tochered lassie long afore his brow became wrinkled with age, 
or the snow-white blossoms had begun to bud forth upon his 
pate. Woe to those, however, who dared to come by twos or 
by threes with inquisitive and curious eye within the bounds 
of their domain, for if caught, or only the eye of a fairy fell • 


upon them, ill was sure to betide them through life. Still more 
awful, however, was the result, if any were so rash as to address 
them either in plain prose or rustic rhyme. The last instance 
of their being spoken to is thus still handed down by tradition : 
— 'Twas on a beautifully clear evening in the mouth of August, 
when the last sheaf had crowned the last stack in their master's 
hagyard, and, after calling the " harvest home," the daytale- 
men and household servants were enjoying themselves over 
massive pewter quarts foaming over with strong beer, that the 
subject of the evening's conversation at last turned upon the 
fairies of the neighbouring hill, and each related his oft-told 
tale which he had learned by rote from the lips of some parish 
granddame. At last, the senior of the mirthful party proposed 
to a youthful mate of his who had dared to doubt even the 
existence of such creatures, that he durst not go to the hill, 
mounted on his master's best palfrey, and call aloud at the full 
extent of his voice the following rhymes : — 

Rise little lads, 

Wi' your iron gads, 

And set the lad o' Midridge hame. 

Tam o'-Shanter-like, elated with the contents of the pewter 
vessels, he notliing either feared or doubted, and off went the 
lad to the fairy hill ; so, being arrived at the base, he was 
nothing loth to extend his voice to its utmost powers in giving 
utterance to the above invitatory verses. Scarcely had the 
last words left his lips ere he was nearly surrounded by many 
hundreds of the little folks, who are ever ready to revenge with 
the infliction of the most dreadful punishment every attempt 
at insult. The most robust of the fairies, who I take to have 
been Oberon, their king, wielding an enormous javelin, thus 
also in rhymes, equally rough, rude, and rustic, addressed the 
witless wight ; — 


Silly Willy, mount thy filly, 

And if it isn't weel corn'd and fed, 

I'll ha' thee afore thou gets hame to thy Midridge bed. 

Well was it for Willy that his home was not far distant, and 
that part light was still remaining in the sky. Horrified beyond 
measure, he struck his spurs into the sides of his beast, who, 
equally alarmed, darted oif as quick as lightning towards the 
mansion of its owner. Luckily it was one of those houses of 
olden time which would admit an equestrian and his horse 
within its portals without danger ; lucky also was it that at the 
moment they arrived the door was standing wide open ; so con- 
sidering the house a safer sanctuary from the belligerous fairies 
than the stable, he galloped direct into the hall, to the no small 
amazement of all beholders, when the door was instantly closed 
upon his pursuing foes I As soon as Willy was able to draw his 
breath, and had in part overcome the effects of his fear, he 
related to his comrades a full and particular account of his 
adventures with the fairies ; but from that time forward never 
more could any one, either for love or money, prevail upon 
Willy to give the fairies of the hill an invitation to take an 
evening walk with him as far as the village of Midridge ! 

To conclude. W^hen the fairies had departed and it was con- 
sidered safe to unbar the door to give egress to Willy and his 
filly, it was found, to the amazement of all beholders, that the 
identical iron javelin of the fairy king had pierced through the 
thick oaken door, which, for service as well as safety, was 
strongly plated with iron, where it still stuck, and actually 
required the strength of the stoutest fellow in the company, 
with the aid of a smith's great fore-hammer, to drive it forth. 
This singular relic of fairy-land was preserved for many gene- 
rations, till, passing eventually into the hands of one who cared 
for none of those things, it was lost, to the no small regret of all 
lovers of legendary lore ! 


Methinks I hear more than one " courteous reader " cry out 
'' Phooh ! What have bona fide javelins of iron, or any other 
of the paraphernalia of fairies, used either in offence or 
defence, or their horses, or their dresses, to do with legitimate 
fairyology ? They are things which we mortals are truly per- 
mitted to see, but never, no never, to touch ! Phooh ! phooh ! 
It's all stuff and nonsense." Although I am perfectly aware 
that nothing about a fairy can be touched or handled, the 
whole being of that thin shadowy nature which enables it to be 
embraced by the imagination alone, still I may be allowed 
quaintly to observe that I am relating a myth, not writing an 
Essay on the Fairy Mythology of my native county. For- 
tunately we have, nevertheless, certain fairy relics which, 
falling into more conservative hands than the javelin of Mid- 
ridge, have, after passing through many generations, descended 
to the present day ; witness the Cup of Eden Hall, in Cumber- 
land, and also a Sacramental Cup still used in one of the 
churches of the Isle of Man, which tradition, equally with that 
of Eden Hall, asserts to have been acquired in much the same 
way, from a gathering of festive fairies. These surely are to 
me as a host in support of the Myth of MidridgCj which I tell to 
others as 'twas told to me ! 

A Yorkshireman's Coat of Arms. 

To wit : A Fly, a Flea, a Magpie, and a Flitch of Bacon. 

A Cockney fling at the natives of the North Countrie, and 
with Cocknies all Northerns are either Scots or Yorkshiremen. 
The Cockneydom explanation is, " that a fly will drink with 
any man, and so will a Yorkshireman ; a flea will bite any 
man, and so will a Yorkshireman ; a magpie will chatter with 
any one, and so will a Yorkshireman; and as for a flitch of 
bacon, it is of no worth till it is hu7icfj no more is a Yorkshire- 


The chronicler of this cutting saw begs leave to say that, 
although he is not a native of broad Yorkshire, should the 
Londoners ever see proper to alter or make any additions to the 
heraldic bearings of Yorkshire, not to omit to give a fighting 
cock as the Yorkshireman's crest, for a Yorkshire game cock 
of the true breed will turn his tail upon none of his species ; and 
as for a Yorkshire Tyke, i.e., a Yorkshireman, I feel confident 
that he would not only face three Cockneys, but would give them 
all, one after another, what he would in his own country phrase 
call a "reet good benzilling." — Literary Gazette, Sept. 6, 1850, 
p. 676. 



A story is told how, once upon a time, an honest Northern 
rode into the yard of a hostelry, somewhere in the siveet south, 
and vociferated at the extent of his stentorian voice, " Wostler ! 
Wostler ! " Now it happened that a parrot (which hung in the 
court-yard of this neglected mansion of the olden time, not 
being so well acquainted with the dialectic tongues of Britain as 
a few ryght lerned and unfeathered bipeds which I could readily 
name) mistook the poor countryman for a native of the land of 
cakes, and said to himself, in a voice sufficiently loud though to 
be heard by the new-come guest, ^^ Proud Scot ! Proud Scot I /^^ 
The traveller, considering himself grossly insulted by the parrot, 
cast his eyes up at Poll and retorted with, " Thou'se a d — d 
hear, for Ize a Yorkshireman.^^ " Worse ! and Worse ! " quoth 
the parrot. And so the dialogue ended, to the great chagrin of 
the " honest Yorkshire bite."— iyi^^mr^ Gazette, Oct. 14, 1848, 
p. 685. 



Then rose the slogan with a shout, 

" To it, Tynedale ! " " Jethart's here ! " 

Ancient Local Ballad. 

Our slogan is their lyke-wake dirge. 
Our moat the grave where they shall lie. 

Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

Slogans or slughorns, and war or gathering-cries, were common 
throughout the whole of the European continent in the Middle 
Ages ; and their primary object, no doubt, was to animate 
the rival warriors at the moment of attack ; they were also used 
as the watchword by which individuals of the same party recog- 
nised each other, either amidst the darkness of night or in the 
confusion of battle, and are in general found to be composed of 
the name of the various leaders of the local bands of foemen 
under whose banner they so courageously fought even unto 

Occasionally, as in Scotland, the name of the place of 
rendezvous was used as the slughorn. The war-cry of kings 
was, however, generally that of the patron saint of their country ; 
to wit, that of the King of England, " St George " ; the King 



of Scotland, " St. Andrew " ; while that of the King of France 
was " Montjoye St. Denis." ♦ 

St. George he was for England, St. Denis was for France, 
Sing, Honi soit qui mal y pense. 

Ballad of St. George for England. 

Few of the slushorns of the gallant Northerns have been 
preserved to us, though formerly they made every heart beat 
with ardour, every hand grasp its weapon, and every foot 
hasten to its rendezvous ! Many of the ancient families, after 
the union of the two kingdoms, converted their " war cries " 
into mottoes. 

The following passage from an old author is extremely valu- 
able as illustrative of the use (or rather the abuse) of the 
slogan : 

" That whereas alweys, both in al townes of war and in al 
campes of armies, quietness and stilness without nois is, prin- 
cipally in the night, after the watch is set, observed (I need not 
reason why). Yet, our Northern Prikkers, the Borderers, not- 
withstanding, with great enormitie (as thought me) and not 
unlyke (to be playn) unto a masterless hounde houlynge in a 
hieway, when he hath lost hym he wayted upon, sum hoopyng, 
some whistelying, and most with crying, a Ber-wyke ! a Berwyke I 
a Fenwyke ! a Fenwyke ! a Bulmer ! a Bulmer ! or so otherwise 
as theyr capteins names wear, never linnde those troublous and 
daungerous noyses al the nyghte long. They said they did it to 
fynde ont their captein and fellowes ; but if the soldiours of our 
oother countries and sheres had used the same maner, in that 
case we shoold have oftymes had the state of our campe more 
lyke the outrage of a dissolute huntyinge than the quiet of a wel 
ordered army." — (Patten's Account of Somerset's Expedition^ 
p. 76.) 


Notwithstanding these honest and truthful remarks, the use of 
the slogan is often alluded to by our ancient historians and poets. 
The French called it cri de guerre; and an old Italian writer, 
Sylvester Petra Santa, quaintly terms it clamor militaris. 
Edward III. of England, in a skirmish near Paris, in mcccxlix. 
cried "Ha, St. Edward!" (alluding to the Confessor), "Ha, 
St, George ! " — (Chambers's Popular Rhymes, Scot., art. 
"Slogans" [pp. 351,352].) 

" Item, that all soldiers entering into battail, assault, skirmish, 
or other faction of armes, shall have for their common cry and 
word, ' St. George, forward ! ' or ' Upon them St. George ! ' 
whereby the soldier is much comforted." [Quoted in Nares' 
Glossary.'] The hattle-cry of the Irish warrior was anciently 
" Aboo ! " Henry VII. forbade its use, enjoining that of St. 
George, instead, or otherwise that of the Christian name of the 
king. [ Chambers, ut supra.~\ 

A striking instance of the esteem in which the patron saint of 
England's soldiery was held at the battle of Poietiers is given 
in a curious collection of poems, written by Peter Suchenwirt, 
the German poet and herald of the fourteenth century : — 

The Frenchmen shout forth " Notre Dame," 

Thus calling on Our Lady's name, 

To which the English host reply, 

" St. George ! St. George ! " their battle-cry. 

Mr. Brockett, in his Glossary of North Country Words, derives 
the word slogan from the Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, the signal for 
battle among the Highland clans. On the same authority I may 
quote that " the ancient Britons had their war-song, intituled 
Arymes Prydian, or the armed confederacy of Britain, which 
may be seen in the Cambrian Register. Tacitus mentions the 
chaunters in the army who excited the soldiers to exert them- 
selves, by setting forth as examples the glorious deeds of renowned 


heroes. The uhoohoo ceannan, or yell of the Irish, became 


The Percy Slogans. 

1. Percy ! Percy ! ! 

2. A Percy ! A Percy ! 

3. Esperance Percy ! 

4. Thousands for a Percy ! 

5. Now " Esperance ! Percy ! " and set on ! 

" The two great princes of the North were the Earls of Northum- 
berland at Alnwick, and Westmerland at Eaby Castle." 

Grey's Chorographia of Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1649, 

.... Gernon's fyrst-named Brutys bloude of Troy: 
Which valiantly fyghtynge in the land of Perse, 
At pointe terrible ayance tho miscreants on nyght, 
An Hevynly mystery was schewed bym, old bookys rehearse ; 
In hys schelde did schyne a Mone veryfying her lyght. 
Which to all the ooste yave a perfytte fyght. 
To vaunquys his enemys, and to deth them persue ; 
And therefore the Perses the Cressant doth renew. 
Old vellum pedigree, time Henry VII., in possession of the family. 

No. 1 was the rallying cry of the Percies used at the battle of 
Otterbourne {vide Froissart). At that fray the Percy standards, 
" that every man myght full well knowe," were " the Whyte 
Lyon, the Lucetts and the Cressaunts both." See St. James''s 
Magazine, vol. i. pp. 369, 370, an article by Mr. W. Hylton 
Longstaffe, in illustration of the ballad The Rising of the North. 

The Percy name, from an extremely early period, has 
shone forth as the brightest in the history of English chivalry ; 
and from the union of the princely houses of Alnwick and Raby 
sprang Henry Percy, who, from his noble bearing, energetic 
character, and thirst for arms, obtained the honourable sobriquet 
of Hotspur. Unfortunately the Percies, like their still less 
fortunate relatives, the Nevilles, in a later page of history. 


attempted to overthrow that khig (Henry IV.) they had been 
so instrumental in raising to the tlirone ; for this purpose they 
formed a confederacy with Douglas, Mortimer, Worcester, and 
the no-less-celebrated Welsh chieftain, Owen Glendower. The 
king hastened to meet them, and ere Glendower had been able 
to join his forces with those of " Prince Hotspur of the North," 
he overtook them at Shrewsbury on xxi July, mcccciii. , where, 
amid the conflicting cries of " St. George" on the part of the king 
and that of" Esperance Percy " on the other part, began the battle 
of Shrewsbury. Here the rival houses of Percy and Douglas — 
butnowfightrng on the same side — performed prodigies of valour; 
and here, too, fell the gallant Hotspur, pierced by an arrow 
from a nameless hand. With him fell the confidence of the 
insurgents, and their rout became almost instantly complete, 
Douglas and Worcester were taken prisoners, the latter of whom 
was beheaded. In this sanguinary battle history records that 
2,300 gentlemen perished on both sides ; while of the common 
soldiers more than 6,000 gave their carcases to fatten the already 
blood-covered field. 

The latter cry, " Thousands for a Percy," was raised before 
Wressell Castle, near Howden, then the residence of the mother 
of Sir Thomas Percy, by the followers of Robert Aske, the 
great captain of the "Pilgrimage of Grace," 1536. Sir 
Thomas, who was waylaid in every direction by the insurgents, 
at last, between force and entreaty, was induced to join them. 
For his conduct therein he was hanged, drawn, and quartered 
at Tyburn in the month of June, 1537. 

The Fenwick Slogan. 
6. A Fenwyke ! A Fenwyke !! A Fenwyke !!! 

The slogan, or gathering-cry of the clan Fenwick, was 
never heard in vain. Many border battle-fields bear witness to 



their deadly strife with their Scottish neighbours. The Fen- 
wyke, Fenwycke, Fennick, Fenwicke, or as spelt in moderii 
days, Fenwick, of Northumberland, were a fierce, resolute, and 
warlike band ; and not only sustained the shock of many a 
Scottish inroad, but were ever ready to avenge the real or, sup- 
posed wrongs of the English by a furious raid into the territories 
of the enemy. In the ballad of The Raid of the Meidsivire, we 
meet with the following verses on this warlike clan : — 

We saw come marching ower the knows, 
Five hundred Fenwicks in a flock, 
With jack and speir, and bowes all bent, 
And warlike weapons at their will. 

The House of Percy ever ranked the Fenwicks amongst the 
most constant and valiant of its retainers. In border warfare 
the banner of the gorged phcenix in the burning flame always 
appeared with that of the silver crescent. The ancient character- 
istic of the family is that of " The Fierce Fenwicks." 
Occasionally we meet with " the Fearless Fenwicks." In the 
Battle of the Reidswire — 

Proud Wallington (orig.) was wounded sair 

Albeit he be a Fenwick fierce. 

m * * * 

If the amount of pride in the warlike border chieftain did 
not extend beyond a moderate modicum of family pride, I can 
readily absolve him from so venial an offence, for truly they 
were, as the poet sings, — 

Rude border chiefs, of mighty fame 

And iron soul, who sternly tore 
The blossoms from the tree of fame, 

And purpled them with tints of gore. 

See Gathering Ode of the Fenwick, Local Historians Table 
JBooky Legendary Division, voL ii. p. 95. 


Mottoes of the Family of Fenwick. 

1. Toujours Fidele. 

2. A Tous Jours Loyal. 

3. Virtute Sibi Pr£emium, 

4. Perit ut Vivat. 

5. A Fenwyke ! A Fenwyke !! A Fenwyke !!! 

The original motto of this family is " Perit ut Vivat," a very 
pretty pun upon the crest. Sir John de Fenwicke, a warrior in 
the martial reign of Henry V., having served his royal master 
with great distinction in his French wars, obtained from that 
monarch, in recompense, the lordship of Trouble-Ville, in Nor- 
mandy, with permission to bear for his motto " A Tous Jours 
Loyal," a motto which the family has generally borne ever 
since. I have authority for saying that the motto (No. 1, 
Toujours Fidele) is repudiated by the head of the family. [The 
late Mr. John Fenwick of Newcastle claimed the distinction.] 

The Tindall and Jedworth Slogans. 

7. A Tindall ! A Tindall ! 

8. A Jedworth ! A Jedworth ! 

The Croziers, of Lidd,esdale, had about 1548 slain a 
Fenwick, and used him with extraordinary cruelty ; for which, 
twenty-seven years after, the Fenwick clan, by the guiding of 
John of the Stonehouse, slew several of the Croziers in their 
beds. Sir George Heron, Keeper of Tindale and Redesdale, 
gave up John to Sir John Carmichael, Deputy-Keeper of 
Liddesdale, for which he was dismissed by Sir John Forster, 
the English Warden of the Middle Marches, who, contrary to 
the usual etiquette, as Carmichael was an inferior, appointed 
to meet the latter at Kemelspeth. Carmichael substituted the 
Redeswire, and Forster agreed. All went on well till a 
Crozier shot at Sir William Fenwicke, or the insatiable appetite 


of the Borderers spurred them on ; however, a serious brawl 
began, and ended in the complete rout of the English, the 
death of Sir George Heron, and capture of Sir John Forster 
and others. One account of the commencement of the fray is 
very graphic : '' Carmichael then said, ' I am as able to 
answere mine office in my chardge as you are yours, and am 
of as good an howse as yours.' And to this the Wardein 
answered, and said, ' You are not so able as I, for I am the 
Queene's IMa't's Wardein of the Marches, and you are but a 
Keaper ; ' uppon w'ch wordes and comparison, sondrye lewde 
people of the Scotts (as the Lord Wardein and the Englishe 
parte do affirme) murmured and saide, ' I saye, comparison^ 
comparison ! ' and thereupon fell to crye, ' A Jedworth ! a 
Jedworth ! ' and after departing thence did beginne the affraye. 
But contrarye the Scottes affirme and saye, that sondrye of 
the Tynedale men standing nighe the Wardein and Carmichael, 
fell sodeinlye uppon the said words, cryed ' A Tyndale, a 
Tyndale ! ' running together and shott arrowes amongst the 
whole company e." According to another story, the English at 
first had the advantage, and " the Tyndall men that had no foed 
nor will of blowes fell to spoyle the pedlers ; among others one 
of Jedworth being spoyled, cryed ' A Jedworth! A Jed- 
worth ! ' " 

The ancient Northumberland family of Tindall had the'r 
chief seat at Langley Castle, near Haydon Bridge. They had 
also lands at Lambley, Wyden, Newcastle, Dilstone, &c., &c. In 
old writings they are styled " Barons of Tynedale" and Langley 
Castle, temp. Henry 11. (variorum). Motto of the family of 
Tindall : " Confido, non confundar." 


The Shaftoe Slogan {See p, 134). 
9. A Shaftoe ! A Shaftoe!! 

A Border family of liigh antiquity and distinction. They 
were settled at Bavington, in Northumberland, as early as the 
reign of Edward L, and are the parent stock from whence 
sprung the families of Ben well in Northumberland, and Whit- 
worth in the Bishopric of Durham. 

No motto is noted in the highest heraldic books, as is the 
case with many families of the most undoubted and extreme 
antiquity. I may here observe that mottoes, though hereditary, 
may be assumed and dropped at pleasure. Originally they were 
never borne on the tunic, or other parts of the dress, excepting 
in tournaments, nor were they introduced on banners, but 
were placed, together with the crest or badge, on pennons or 
standards. It has long been usual to insert the motto on a 
scroll under the shield, on seals, &c., but the ancient practice 
was to inscribe it on a circle surrounding the arms, or on a 
ribbon surmounting or emerging from beneath the shield, in 
many fantastic quirks. Vide the plates of seals in Surtees's 
Durham. The circle was, however, more generally devoted to 
the name and rank of the individual wearer. 

The Tarset and Tarret Slogan. 

10. Tarsetburn ! and Tarretburn I 
Yet! Yet!! Yet!!! 

The Tarset is a tributary of the North Tyne, and runs 
into it about three miles above Bellingham. The Tarret is 
a branch of the Tarset. These streams run through very wild 
districts, and when the herds and farmer bodies, who inhabit 
them, meet at market or fair, and get themselves quickened up 



a little over their cups, nothing can be more likely than to still 
hear them cry ont in the words preserved in the text. 

Note. — This local saying, which is evidently a slughorn, 
was communicated to me by my esteemed friend and valued 
correspondent, Mr. .James Telfer, of Saughtree School (Lid- 
desdaln), near Newcastleton, who, with a wife and two or three 
children, declining health, and increasing years, is doomed it 
would appear, without the aid of some one who can sympathise 
in the extreme poverty of a truly self-taught genius, to drag out 
his existence on a yearlj'^ pittance of less than tioenty pounds ! 
and that, too, wholly arising from the school. Such, too often, 
is the fate of those who possess mental power of the highest 

[Through the aid of sympathetic friends, and the kind inter- 
position of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, Telfer's 
hard circumstances were, I believe, somewhat ameliorated in 
his latter years. He died of paralysis, 18th January, 1862. 
Besides contributing to various periodicals and local collections, 
he was the author of two small volumes. Border Ballads, and 
other Miscellaneous Pieces (Jedburgh, 1824; 12mo.); and Tales 
and Ballads (London, 1852; 12mo.) The latter includes the 
tale of Barbara Gray, which had appeared in a separate shape 
many years previously. Telfer's correspondence was most 
charming, and well worth preserving. I have a few of his 
letters. His fast friend, Mr. Robert White, wrote a sketch of 
his life.— J. H.] 

The following variorum reading of the above slogan is very 
popular under the form of 

Up wi' Tarset and Tan-etburn, 
And down wi' the Reed and Tyne, 

as another of the favourite '' cries " of the natives of those 
districts when they chance to be rather excited ; and is, as 


easily may be supposed, often the occasion of many a broken 
head, as the lads of the insulted Tyne and Keed cannot passively 
hear their native streams and vales depreciated by those who 
dwell on the borders of such insignificant burns as the Tarset 
and Tarret without seekins: revense. 

Note. — The Tyne here alluded to is the North Tyne. 

I find that the cry of "Yet" is still much locally used in 
amusements, such as races, cricket matches, &c. &c., " Norton 
Yet," and so on, when a sudden turn of fortune occurs. 

[" Many will still remember a fine specimen of the North 
Tynedale man, Muckle Jock JNIilburn of Bellingham, a man of 
gigantic size and strength, and endowed with a corresponding 
power of lungs. He told that he remembered more than once 
clearing Bellingham Fair with the Tarset and Tarret men at 
his back to the old Border cry of — 

* Tarset and Tarret Burn 

Hard and heatlier-bred, 

Yet— yet— yet.'" 

Dr. Edw. Charlton's North Tynedale and its Four Graynes.'] 

The Blazon akd Word of the Northern Counties. 

11. Snaffle, Spur, and Spear. 

The lands that over Ouse to Berwick forth do bear ; 
Have for their blazon had the snaffle, spur, and spear. 

Drayton's Polyolbion, Song xxxiii. 

William of Deloraine, addressing the lifeless corpse of Richard 

the Dark Musgrave, says — 

* # « ♦ » 

Yet, rest thee God, for well I know, 

I ne'er shall find a nobler foe ! 

In all the Northern Counties here, 

Whose word is snaffle, spur, and spear. 

Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto v., st. 2?, 



The Tynedale Slogan. 
12. Tynedale, to it ! 

This slogan, used at the battle of the Eedeswire, is 
recorded on the following stanza: — 

Then raise the slogan with ane shout, 

« Fy, Tyndaill, to it ! Jedburgh's here ! " 

I trow he was not half sae stout, 
But anis his stomach was asteir, 
Wi' gun and genzie, bow and speir. 

Men might see mony a cracked crown. 

The Thirlwall Slogan. 
13. A Thirlwall ! A Thirlwall !! A Thirlwall !!! 

The war-cry of the Thirlwall, of Thirlwall Castle (now 
Philipson) family. It now forms a kind of supplemental motto 
in the armorial bearings of that once warlike race, and is worn 
above the crest; the real motto, " Fide non fraude," occupying 
the scroll below. The Philipsons are a junior branch descended 
from Philip Thirlwall. 

Thirlwall Castle is still standing, though in a very ruinous 
condition, on the site of the Roman wall, upon the banks of the 
river Tippal. 

The Eokeby Slogan. 
14. A Rokeby ! A Rokeby !! 

In the old ballad of Chevy Chase there is mentioned 
among the English warriors " Sir EafF the ryclie Rugbe," 
which doubtless applies to Sir Ralph de Rokeby, the tenth 
baron in the pedigree. Modern copies read : 

Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slain, 
Whose prowess did surmount. 
* * # # # 


This would rather seem to refer to one of the Nevilles of 
Rabj ; but doubtless the wandering minstrel suited himself to 
circumstances, and sang " Raby '^ or "Ilokeby" just as ho 
found himself seated, whether in the hospitable hall of Raby 
or in the equally festive one of Mortham. 

" In ye end of Hen. VIII. his raigne, K. Edw. the Sixth, 
and Q. Marye's raigne, at Morton (Mortham, near Rokeby), 
then lived Thomas Rokeby, Esq., eldest brother and owner of 
Morton, a plaine man as might be, whose words came allways 
from his heart without feigning, a trustye friend, a forward 
gentleman in the field, and a great housekeeper, whereby he 
lived soe in the good wills and good hearts of his countrymer 
that his Sonne and heire, Cristofer Rokeby, being assaulted at 
Gaterley horse race by Cristofer Neville, brother to the mighty 
Earle of Westmerland, whom the said earle had sent thither 
with a hundreth men to kill him, was both defended and guarded 
from the violence of his adversaries, and was able soe to have 
rebounded the blowes given him by them, that they sholde have 
spilt the best blood in their bodyes if his partye had been willing, 
for then not a gentleman in ye field but they cryed ^ A Rokeby ! ' 
But the good old Thomas, being in co'mission of the peace, 
co'maunded and entreated peace, as he said, ' Give [if, although] 
itt grieves me to see him bleed that bleeds, yet peace, yet peace,' 
and therefore the king loved him that colde soe well get the 
love of his countrye." — Whitaker's Richmondshire. 

" This event must have taken place in the year 1533, or a 
little earlier. Christopher Neville, who thus wanted to stain 
his hands in the blood of a Rokeby, himself died childless and 
attainted. The Rokeby or Rokesby family continued to be 
distinguished until the great Civil War, when, having embraced 
the cause of Charles I., they suffered severely by fines and 
confiscations. The estate then passed from its ancient owners 


to the family of Robinson, from whom it was purchased by tliat 
of Morritt." — Note to Rokehy. 
No Rokeby motto noted. 

The Berwick and Bulmer Slogans. 

15. A Berwick ! A Berwick !! 

16. A Bulmer! A Bulmer !! 

In the English accounts of the Expedition of the Protector 
Somerset against the Scots, these two slogans are said to 
have been used by those sections of the earl's army. {See 
Patten's Account ^ ?• 76, already quoted.) Berwick is variously 
spelt Berwyke. 

The Shapton and Fenwick Slogans. 

17. A Shafton! and a Fenwick !! 

This slogan is used in the ballad of the Raid of ike 
Reidswire : — 

Then was there nought but bow and speir, 

And every man puU'd out a brand ; 
' A Shafton and a Fenwick ' thare : 
Gude Symington was slain frae hand. 
« # * «- 

The Neville or Warwick Slogan. 
18. A Warwick ! A Warwick ! 

1469. The rebellion against Edward IV. began at York, 
and the Northern men under Sir John Gonycrs, a bishoprick 
knight, " a man of suche courage and valiantncss as fewe were 
to bee found in his dayes within the North partes," joined the 


men of Northampton, and won the battle of Banbury field 
against Pembroke and his Welshmen. 

" But gee the happe, even as the Welchmenne were at poynt 
to have obteyned the victorie, John Clappam, Esquier, servaunte 
to the Erie of Warwicke, mounted up the syde of the east hill, 
accompanyed onely with fyve hundred menne, gathered of the 
rascals of the towne of Northampton, and other villages 
aboute, havynge borne before them the standert of the Earle 
of Warwicke, with the white beare, crying ' A Warwike ! 
a Warwike ! ' 

" The Northamptonshire men, with dyvers of the northerne 
men, by them procured in this furie, made them a captaine, 
called B,obert Hilliard, but they named him Robin of Redesdale 
(Robyn of Redesddale in margine), and sodainely came to 
Grafton, where they tooke the Earle Rivers, father to the 
queene, and hys sonne Sir John Woodvile, whom they 
brought to Northamton, and ther beheaded them both without 

The events after the battle and confinement of Edward at 
Myddleham Castle are matters of history. HoUinshed passes 
on to observe that Warwick received the northern men at 
Warwick " with greate gladnesse, thanking Sir John Coniers 
and other tlieyr capitaynes for theyr paynes taken in hys 

The battle was lost by the Lord Stafibrd's treachery, because 
the Earl of Pembroke had put him " out of an inne (in Ban- 
burie), wherein he delighted much to be, for the love of a 
damoseil that dwelled in the house." However, Edward IV. 
speedily took off his head. 

The family of Neville are descended from Gilbert de Neville, 
a Norman, and companion in arms of William the Conqueror. 


Ranulpli de Neville of Eaby was summoned to Parliament as 
a baron viii June, mccxciv , and his great-grandson, lia\\)h de 
Neville, was created Earl of Westmoreland in Mcccxcvii. 
Eichard de Nevilloj was created Earl of Warwick and Salisbury. 
John de Neville, Earl of Northumberland and Marquis of 
Montagu, was third son of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury. 
George, son of John de Neville, Earl of Northumberland, 
created Duke of Bedford mcccclxix., was degraded from all his 
titles MCCCCLXXYii. Neville, Baron Latimer, was descended 
from George, a younger son of Ralph, the first Earl of West- 
moreland. From the Nevilles of the bishoprick are descended 
the Lords Furnivall, and Earls of Kent, as also is the Aber- 
gavenny family. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and his 
two brothers, who formed the most puissant branch of the 
family, the makers and dethroners of kings, are commonly 
called "the Three Great Brothers.*' 

The characteristic of this family is that of the " The Noble 
Nevilles." Charles Neville, the sixth and last Earl of West- 
moreland, forfeited Raby, and other immense possessions in the 
counties of York and Durham, for his share in the Rebellion of 
the Earls, A.D. mccccclxx. 

Hume, the historian, speaks of the Nevilles as '^ the most 
potent, both from their possessions and from the character of the 
men, that have ever appeared in England." 

Mottoes of the Family op Neville. 

1. Moys Droyt, Moys Droyt. 

2. Esperaunco me comfort. 

3. Ne Vile Yelis. 

4. Ne Vile. 

Tlie Fanes, Earls of Westmorland, adopted the huirs head of 


tlieir ancestors (on tlic spindle side), the Nevilles, for their crest, 
and give as their niotto^ 

Ne Vile Fano, 

a very excellent double pun. The device on the standard of the 
Nevilles of Raby was that of the dun lull ; on that of the 
Earl of Warwick (as before observed) a wldte hear. Ralph, 
the great Earl of Westmoreland, gave as his supporters two 
greyhounds gorged ; and in the " Rising of the North " tlie 
banner of his luckless successor is thus noticed — 

Lord Westmoreland his ancyent raisde, 

The dun hull he rays'd on hye ; 
And tlu'ce dogs with golden collars, 

Were there sett out must royallye. 

The Mowbray Slogan. 

19. Mowbray ! Mowbray ! ! 

In the year mcccxxxv. the English, led on by Thomas 
of Rosslyne and William Mowbray, assaulted Aberdeen. The 
former was mortally wounded in the onset, and as his followers 
were pressing forward, shouting Rosslyne ! Rosslyne ! '' Cry 
Moicbray,'^ said the expiring chieftain, ^^ Rosslyne is gone." — 
(Scott's Notes on the Ballad of the Raid of the Reidsioire.) 

[Schyr Thomas hwrt was in the kne, 
And sone of that hurt deyd he ; 
Thai cryide than ' Eoslyne,' bot he can say, 
Iioslync is went, ylie tak Mowbray. 

Wyntownis Chronicle, p. 19G. Both leaders appear to have becu 
Anglicised Scots. Mowbray afterwards joined the patriotic side.] 



The Heron Slogan. 

20. Hastings ! (?) 

Evidently, I think and believe, the slogan of the ancient 
lords of Ford and Chipchase Castles. The Herons also had a 
stronghold at Twizell. 

Sir Hugh the Heron bold, 

Baron of Twisell, and of Ford, 

And Captain of the Hold. — Marmion* 

The Herons are an old and honourable north countrie family. 
Their arms are : Gules, three herons argent. Crest : A heron, 
close proper, holding in the bill a standard- staff, tlie banner 
flotant, thereon the word '' Hastings." Motto : Nil despe- 

The Bowes Slogan. 

21. A Bowes ! A Bowes !! 

On the first September, mdclxxxi , Matthew White, of 
Ovington, in the name of William Bowes, of Streatlam Castle, 
Esq., by beat of drum, called some twenty people from all parts 
to Pearcebridge, and, in their way to the Fishgarth, near 
Egglescliffe, about ten more joined them. At Neasham, Mr. 
Henry Chaytor, of Croft, and Mr. Killinghall, called for ale, 
and drank Esquire Bowes's good health, and gave six shillings 
to them to be spent in drink, which they did drink, the drum 
beating, and they shouting and hooping '' A Bowes ! A Bowes! " 
The end of the '' Fishgarth Eiot " was that these tumultuous 
people pulled down the obnoxious dam in the Tees there as far 
as they could, but were prevented pulling down the whole for 

* There is better authority than this in Raine's North Durham, see 
p. 314.— J.H. 


height of water. White had premised io pay their charges, and 
that Mr. Bowes would accompany them, but neitlier engage- 
ment was performed. See documents in full in Surtees's 
Hist. Durham, vol. iii. sub. tit. " Fishgarth." In the next year, 
a proper judgment was obtained against the dam as a common 
nuisance, and it was pulled down to the half water {i.e. I sup- 
pose, mid-way across the channel), as far as concerned the 
county of Durham. Sir William Bowes came with a posse 
comitatus when it was pulled down. — Note in Mr. KillinghalFs 
handwriting, penes K. H. Allan, of Blackwell Hall, Esq., F.S.A. 
The company were armed with guns, pistols, swords, and 
various other offensive weapons. The " Fishgarth Eiot '"* was 
probably the last instance in which a slogan was publicly used. 
Motto of the family above the crest : 

Sans Variance et Men Droit. 

Motto bsneath the shield : 

In Multis, In Magnis, In Bonis, Expertus. 

The Stanley Slogan. 

22. Stanley ! Stanley !! 

This war-cry was raised, at the battle of Flodden Field, by 
the followers of the banner of the *' Stout Stanley," upon which 
was the traditional device of the eagle and swaddled cliylde. 
The warriors under Loi'd Edward Stanley were chiefly, if not 
wholly, the '* Lively Wights " of Lancashire, and the " Chosen 
Mates" [orig.) of Cheshire. When the Earl of Surrey was 
sore pressed by the enemy, and victory was inclining to the 
Scots, this gallant warrior, and his equally valiant countrymen, 
pressed forward to his assistance. 

■X- :ic He 4: 


And "Stanley stout" tliey all did cry ; 
Out went anon the grey goose wing, 
And mongst the Scots did flickering fly. 

Although the Scots at Stanley's name 
Were 'stonisht sore, yet stout they stood ; 

Yet for defence they fiercely frame, 
And arrows' dint with danger bode.* 

The impetuosity of this attack turned the fortunes of the day ; 
and although the Scots '' behaved right bravely," they were, 
notwithstanding their gallant conduct, obliged to give way, but 
not till their monarch, twelve e. e. thirteen lords, upwards of 
fifty men of note, and from ten to twelve thousand common 
fighting-men, lay dead upon that fatal field. This battle was 
fought 9th September, 151b, and continued between three and 
four hours. 

* Weber's edition of Floddon Field, p. 114. 





The good old rule sufficed then, 

The plain and simple plan, 
That they should catch -who had the power, 

And they should keep who can. 

" Hang the Fellow ! " quoth Lord William Howard ; 
or, according to the version of Sir Walter Scott (^Border Ant.)^ 

" Hang them in the Devil's name." 
Lord William How^ard, of Nawortli Castle, was appointed 
Warden of the Borders by Queen Elizabeth.* This nobleman was 
much attached to letters, and to interrupt those hours of study 
was an offence cautiously avoided by the domestics, particularly 
as one intrusion had been attended with fatal consequences. 

His lordship w-as one day engaged with his schoolmen and 
fathers, when a retainer, who had captured an unfortunate Scots 
moss-trooper, burst into the apartment to acquaint his master 
with the circumstance, and inquij-e what should be done with 
the captive. " Hang the Fellow ! " said Lord William peevishly, 
an expression intended to convey no other meaning than dis- 
pleasure at the intruder. The servant, however, accustomed to 
the most perfect obedience, immediately construed the pas- 
sionate expression into a command ; a few" hours afterwards, 
when his lordship directed the fellow to be brought before him 
for examination, he heard that in compliance with his order the 
man had been hanged ! 

* He never was Lord Warden. See Canon Ornsby's Introduction 
to Lord William Howard's Household Books (Surtees Society), pp. 21 
to 30, for contradiction of many of the popular misstatements which 
had received the sanction of Sir Walter Scott. — J. H. 


The place of execution was in a grove of oaks near the castle, 
and tliere many a Border marauder, both Scots and English, 
struggled his last. 

One historian, when relating the above incident, ascribes it 
to one of the Carnaby's, of Halton ; but we have no authentic 
account of any of the Carnaby family having ever filled the 
office of Warden of the Marches. < . 

Belted Will Howard, or Bauld, i.e. Bold, Willie. 

His Bilboa blade, by marchmen felt, 
Hung in a broad and studded belt ; 
Hence in rude phrase the Borderers still 
Call noble Howard " Belted Will." 

Imt/ of the Last Mtns., Cant. 5, st. xvi. 

Fuller says, " When in their greatest height, they (the moss- 
troopers) had two great enemies, the laws of the land and Lord 
Will. Howard of Na worth." Worthies of England, p. 216. 

Mr. Howard, author of the History of the Howard Family, 
p. lix., supposes that his noble relative and ancestor may have 
derived the characteristic from the fact of his being in the habit 
of wearing the Baldrick or Broad Belt, which was formerly 
worn as a distinguishing badge of persons in high stations. 

Even at the present day the dungeons at Naworth Castle 
still instil horror. They consist of four dark apartments, three 
beloAv and one above, up a long staircase, all well secured. In 
the uppermost is one ring to which criminals were chained, and 
marks remain where many more have been. In fact they are 
such places as, 

To lie in them one night, 'tis guessed, 
'Twere better to be ston'd and press'd 
Or hang'd .... 


I may here remark, that Bauld Willie kept 140 men at 


Naworth Castle as his general guard. I suppose this would 
include all the adult male servitors of the castle. 

Lord William Howard, it is said, died of the plague at 
Naworth, and not at Graystoke, as stated by Hutchinson, 
1640, aged 77 years. His remains are supposed to rest in the 
old parish church at Brampton. This church is now in ruins.* 

" In the drama of life," the Howards, says an eloquent 
writer, " have exhibited every variety of character, good and 
bad, and the tales of their vices, as well as of their virtues, are 
full of instruction, and anxious sympathy, or indignant censure. 
No story of romance, or tragic drama, can exhibit more incidents 
to enhance attention or move the heart, than would a compre- 
hensive account of this house, written with eloquence and 

The first peerage obtained by the Howards occurs in the year 
1470. This family are the representatives of the illustrious 
families of Warrenne, Mowbray, and Fitz-Allan. 

Bessie with the Broad Apron. 

This familiar epithet was applied to Elizabeth, the daughter 
of Lord Dacre and wife of the above-named Belted Will 
Howard, whose broad lands swelled the fortunes of this younger 
brother, the progenitor of the families of Carlisle and Corby. 
This noble lady died at the good old age of 75. 

The Lord of Dacres 

Was slain in the North Acres. 

Lord Dacre was a Cumberland noble. North Acres, the 
name of a field near Towton. At Towton, a small village about 
two and a half miles from Tadcaster, was fought a bloody battle 

* Canon Ornsby, in his Introduction to the Household Books of 
Lord William Howard, published by the Surtees Society, p. Ixiv., 
has satisfactorily shown that Lord William died at Greystock Castle 
either on or about October 7th, 1640, not of the plague, but from 
natural decay, and that he was buried in Greystock Church. — J. H. 


which commenced on the morning of Pahn Sunday (29 March), 
1461, between the houses of York and Lancaster. History- 
records that thirty-six thousand were killed on the field and 
only one prisoner taken, viz., the Earl of Devonshire. The 
Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland were amongst the 
slain. Lords Westmoreland and Dacre were interred at Saxton, 
the first without any distinguishable memorial. Leland says 
that Lord Dacre has " a meane tomb " there. From the mention 
of Hen. VI. in the epitaph, Whitaker surmises that it was not 
erected till after the demise of Edw. IV. A low stone wall, 
about twenty inches from the ground, covered with a plain 
stone, forms the warrior's tomb. It is broken across the centre 
and divided into two parts, and is unprotected by any palisade 
or railing. The inscription is in Latin, in large old English 
letters, cut round the border of the flat stone. Enough remains 
to verify the tomb. Glover, who visited Towton Field 124 
years after the battle, was told that Lord Dacre, while in the 
act of drinking, was slain by a boy, who had secreted himself in 
an elder tree, at North Acre, in revenge for the death of his 
father, whom his lordship had killed with his own hand. 

Through the field of Towton runs a small brook of the name 
of Cock ; of which tradition records that it was choked up with 
the dead bodies of the Lancastrian party, and that it ran with 
blood for three whole days. This battle is the last historical 
fact recorded by Caxton in his Chronicle. He was a con- 

The name of Dacre is supposed to be derived from the 
exploits of one of the ancestors of the family at the siege of 
Acre, temp. Rich. Coeur de Lion. 

The Hot Dacre. 

A chieftain of the branch of " the I'd Dacres of the North " 
{i.e.f the Gilsland branch) was Warden of the Marches during 


the reign of Edward VI. He was a man of hot and obstinate 
character, as appears from some particulars given by Sir Walter 
Scott, in his Mins. Scot. Border, Appendix to the Introduction. 
The Dacre Castle branch were called " Lord Dacres of the South." 
The Earl of Surrey in a letter to Henry YIII. says, " There is 
noo herdyer nor bettir knyght, but often tyme he doth not use 
the most sure order," as he found to his great cost at the 
storming of Jedburgh, "where he lost viii. c. horses, and all 
with folly for lak of not lying within the campe." 

Sir Walter Scott, in his Lay of the Last Minst. 4 cant. st. 
xvii. records that a tune of the name of " Noble Lord Dacre, he 
dwells on the Border," was played by the minstrels " as they 
marched in order to the Border Wars " [It will require 
some other authority than a romance for the supposed tune.] 

King of Patterdale. 

Patterdale or Patrick's Dale, takes its name from the 
baptisms of that saint, purported to have been performed at a 
fount still preserved by the road-side. It is a poor little village, 
in which, however, if there be little to admire, there is nothing 
to offend. 

The annals of the Royal House cf Patterdale are simply 
these: On some sudden emergency in the time of a Scottish 
irruption upon the northern counties, so frequently occurring in 
the history of our early reigns, a chief was wanted to embody 
and command the shepherds of the dale. In this dilemma, 
an enterprising peasant of the name of Mounsey boldly 
volunteered his services as the leader of his countrymen. His 
offer was accepted ; and such was the vigilance and precision 
with which his warlike genius inspired him, that he succeeded 
in effectuating a total rout of the invading army. He was 
accordingly crowned amid the acclamations of the victors and 



proclaimed king of Patterdale. The succession was of course 
hereditary, and for some generations the monarch received the 
more substantial homage of his subjects. Tlie family has risen 
by honourable industry to a state of comparative opulence ; but 
the regal title and claims are only chronicled in the memories 
of the ancient inhabitants of the beautiful vale. The ancient 
mansion of this family is still known by the preeminent name 
of Patterdale Palace. Mr. Mounsey, king of Patterdale, sold 
his regal residence in the early part of the present century. 
His present mansion is Goldrigg Cottage, two miles further up 
the dale. 

The family of Mounsey of Patterdale have enjoyed tliis title 
time out of mind, and the junior branches princes and 
princesses. The king, who died on the 15th October, 1793, 
aged 92, was a remarkably eccentric being. Though possessed 
of an income of £300 a year, he was so penurious that if he had 
to transact any business abroad he used to call on a friend and 
borrow his clothes. His own dress " consisted of a heap of rags 
and patches, his stocking heels were made of leather, and he 
wore clogs heavily shod with iron." He left property worth 
£1,000 a year. — Newcastle Magazine, 1825, pp. 524, 52o. 

Bide Rowley, the Hough's i' the Pot. 

A MS. quoted in the Hist. Cumb., p. 466, concerning the 
Graemes of Netherby, and others of that clan, runs thus : — 
They were all stark moss-troopers and arrant thieves, both to 
England and Scotland outlawed ; yet sometimes connived at, 
because they gave intelligence forth of Scotland, and could raise 
400 men at any time, upon a raid of the English into Scotland. 
This saying, which is recorded of a Graeme mother to her son, 
Rowland, is now become proverbial. It inferred that the last 
piece of beef was in the pot, and therefore it was full time to go 
in quest of more. 


The Sun shines fair on Carlisle Wall, 

This line forms the overture of the song Albert Graeme, Lay 
Last Mlns.^ cant. 6, stanza xi. It also forms the burden cf an 
ancient Scottish song beginning thus : — 

She leaned her back against a thorn, 
The sun shines fair on Carlisle wa'; 

And there she has her young babe bom, 
And the lyon shall be lord of a'. 

Perhaps the saying (if it be one) may infer that the sun in his 
diurnal journey does not shine on a fairer city than " Canny 
Carlisle." [An old epithet of the town is " Merry Carlisle."] 


The neck- verse was the last verse in the Miserere, a psalm * 
sung at executions. Harraby Hill is about a mile from Carlisle 
on the Penrith Road, with the River Petterell running under it, 
and was formerly the place of execution. It was at this place 
those suffered who were taken and tried at Carlisle for their 
connection with the rebellion of 1745. Two heads were still 
remaining on the English gate, at Carlisle, in the year 1766. 
One of these was the unfortunate Major MacDonald. 

Black Tom of the North. 

The church of Cammerton, a small village on the Derwent, 
near Workington, contains an ancient effigy in armour of a 
renowned warrior, who in popular tradition is called Black Tom 
of the North ; but who this Black Tom was even tradition 
itself cannot tell. He is however said to have lived at the old 

* That is the LI. Psalm, and it used anciently to be read by 
criminals claiming benefit of clergy. 



castle at Seaton, where I find one Ketel settled at a very remote 


Now if this Maister Ketel 

Had a sonne he called Pann, 
I thynke yt very lykely, 

Black Tom wolde be the mann ! 

The man was ne'er so wight nor gued. 
But worthy Wallace durst him byde ; 

Nor never horse so wild nor weud 

But David Bregham durst him ryds. 

The manor of Ulldale y/as forfeited by David Bregham, to 
the Lucys lords of Allerdale, for joining the Scotch patriotic 
army, commanded by Sir William Wallace, who was no less 
famous for his feats of arms than his English compatriot for 
his horsemanship. '' Whereupon," the chroniclers say, '' The 
Scots thus rhymed on them." 

A Harden Sark, a Guise Grassing, and a Whittle Gait. 

Two or three centuries ago (and even less), these were all 
the stipend of a Cumberland clergyman. The above, v.diicli 
has become a proverb, means, in other words, that his entire 
salary consisted of a coarse linen shirt, the right of depasturing 
his geese upon the moor or common, and the still more valuable 
privilege of using a knife and fork (? the latter) and trencher at 
the table of his parishioners, free of all costs and charges. This 
privilege is now claimed by some of the rural schoolmasters. 

The Cattle of Cumberland are as good as those of 

This proverbial saying, used either thus or inversely, origi- 
nated with, and was often made use of, by the freebooting gentry 
of England and Scotland, resident upon the Debateable Lands 
of the Borders, It is quoted by Sir Walter Scott, Lay of the 
Last Minst., see note to cant. L 


[It can scarcely be said to be quoted by Sir Walter Scott, as 
his statement is the original of it.] 

The Capon Tree.* 
The proverbial name given to an ancient oak situate near 
Brampton. It obtained its name from the judges being for- 
merly met here by javelin-men, well armed and mounted, from 
Carlisle, who, in addition to the armour on their backs, were 
further loaded with a goodly number of cold capons ; and here, 
under the spreading branches of this once stately tree, did the 
learned judges and their body-guard partake of [what would 
then be regarded as a great dainty] . 

Carlisle ; where the officer always does his work by daylight. 
Carlisle was celebrated for its numerous executions, especially 
for those performed upon the poor but offending Borderers, 
both before and after the union. To this chief place of "blood- 
offering," the Lord Warden of the West Marches, generally sent 
his victims, not wishing to incur the responsibility of performing 
that office at Naworth or elsewhere. The officer was hangman. 

* Six of the prisoners condemned to suffer in the insurrection of 
174G were in October executed, not at Carlisle, but at Brampton. 
Those six were Col. James Innes, Peter Lindsay, Eonald Macdonald, 
Thomas Park, Peter Taylor, and Michael Deland (Mounsey's Carlisle 
in 1745, p. 268). Tradition says they were hanged on the capon 
tree, which for many years afterwards was supposed to be haunted. 
It was even believed, says the writer of a local tale called " The 
Tragedy of the Capon Tree," that " on the anniversary of the day of 
execution the spirits of the rebels weie to be seen flitting about with 
airy ropes round their necks. They have now, with the generation 
which stood in awe uf them, flitted altogether away ; and the once 
famous oak which they haunted is itself a tiling of the past, nothing 
now remaining of it but its stump." — Eev. H. Whitehead on 
" Brampton in 1745," in Transactions of Cumberland and Westmore- 
land Association for the Advancement of Literature and Science, 
1886-7. pp. 64-5.— J.H. 


A Bewcastler, or Bewcastle Man. 

The above phrase is synonymous with that of rogue, reiver, 
or thief. 

In the list of Border thieves made in the year 1552, William 
Patrick, the pi-iest, and John Nelson, the curate of Bewcastle, 
are both included. This parish was for ages the receptacle of 
desperadoes who were outlawed both by England and Scot- 
land, and continued their ferocious and nefarious practices, 
long after the ascension of King James, which in a great 
measure put a stop to the depredations made by the banditti on 
the borders. Till within a century, the name of a Bewcastle 
man carried with it a strong degree of terror, not only to the 
young but also to the old. Since that time, however, they 
have become as moral, honest, and industrious as their more 
favoured neighbours, with whom they have a more easy inter- 
course by the formation of new roads, and the improvement of 
old ones. Aspersions are still cast upon them, as horse 
dealers; a calling in which some of tlie inhabitants indulge 
freely, and, I doubt not, with as much honesty and honour as 
the generality of those who practice the same trade. 

Cumberland, the Back Door into Scotland. 

So is Cumberland termed by our early writers ; as also is 
Northumberland called the Fore Door. 

Carlisle, the Key of England on the West Sea. 

The same is spoken of Berwick on the East Sea. Both these 
towns were strongly fortified; and to the East and West 
Marches, they were places of arms and rallying points. 


Inhabitants of the Debateable Lands were so called; of whom 
the Gremes, Greames, or Grahams ; the Nicksons, Nixons, 
Niksons, Nexona, or Nyksons, and the Crossers, or Croziers, or 


Crozers, were the chief. The Debateable Lands were also 
called Threap Lands. The manner of these "Johnny Arm- 
strongs " was to steal in Scotland and sell in England, or vice 
versa, just as was convenient to them. They have even been 
known to carry the produce of one of these forays to London 
for disposal. 

King James VI. of Scotland had a favourite cow, which he 
brought from " his ain kintry " when he acceded to the English 
crown ; but she, having no taste for English manners and 
customs, silently retreated without even a farewell to her royal 
master, the monarch of fom' kingdoms. (Note, that it is re- 
corded that this cow was the only personage in his numerous 
retinue that ever returned to Scotland.) When the courtiers 
expressed their surprise how she could find her way, as she 
could speak neither English nor Scotch ; the king replied " that 
that did not excite his wonder so much as how she could get 
across the Debateable Ground without being stolen ! " 

The Raid, or Scotch axd English. 

This game is practised in the north by the schoolboys, who 
evidently have derived the traditional impression from former 
scenes, and keep up the remembrance of the good old times, by 
this Border play. The lads of a village or school divide them- 
selves into two parties, the one Scotch and the other English, when 
they choose two captains out of their united body, each nominat- 
ing one alternately. The two parties then strip off their hats, 
neckerchiefs, coats, and vests, and deposit their clothes (called 
wads,* from the old word weed) in two heaps, each upon 
their own ground, which is divided from that of their 
opponents by a stone, as a boundary mark between the two 
opposing kingdoms. Each then invades the others' territory 
with allthe care that can be used, the English crying, " Here's 

* Wad signifies a pledge ; A S,, wed. 


a leap into thy kingdom, dry-bellied Scot;" and the Scotch 

also crying * They who can, j)lunder the opposite 

party. If one is caught in the enemies' ground he becomes 
a prisoner, and cannot be released except by his own party. 
Thus one side will occasionally take all the men and property 
of the other. See Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, 
Arts. " Scotch and English," and " Stealing Clothes." 

Nag and Foot Tenements. 

This was a sort of military tenure, by which the holders of a 
plot of ten or twelve acres of land were bound whenever called 
upon by their superior lord tp follow him either on nag or foot 
as need or occasion might be, at least forty days in one year. 

A Bastle, or Bastile House. 

It is also spelled Bastill and Bastell. These buildings were 
likewise called Barnkins and also Peel Houses. These fortified 
dwellings, or Border strongholds, were a sort of castle, town, or 
keep, to which was attached an outer fortification, within which 
the cattle of the vicinage were driven upon any sudden alarm 
as a place of safety. There were great numbers of these 
buildings on the English and Scottish Borders, through the 
entire line of the marches ; and ruins of a great many still exist. 
Even as far south as Mortham Tower, near Rokeby, Yorkshire, 
we have an exact specimen of one of these Border fortalices, 
with its watchfold, still pretty perfect. " These petty fortresses 
usually consisted of a square tower, of two or three stories, with 

* In a letter Mr. Denham says : " It has been suggested to me by 
a clever literary Scot, that your Scots' cry might be, ' Here's a leap 
into thy kingdom thou gorbellied Southron ! ' Tlie idea is very 
characteristic, and shall appear in print." August 21, 1852. The 
Scots' saying was, " Set your feet on Scots' ground, English, if ye 
daur." — Chambers' Pop. Rhymes, p. 128. — J. H. 


walls of great thickness; the chambers on the ground floor 
vaulted with stone, and the entrance thoroughly barricaded with 
an iron-grated door, was used to secure the cattle by night." 
See Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, art. Peel, 
vol. ii., p. Q9. 

I may say that every castle, in the North of England at 
least, had adjoining to it a village inhabited by the retainers or 
clansmen of the lord of the estate, who were ever ready upon 
the summons of their superior to issue from their mud dwelling 
with their bow and well plenished quivers, targets, and swords ; 
and if need be with firebands, to fight the battle of the lord of 
the castle ; no matter whether right or wrong. After the 
union of the two kingdoms, when the services of these kindly 
tenants and rentallers were no longer useful, thousands of these 
miserably poor creatures were evicted by brute force, and 
their humble dwellings were levelled with the earth. This 
depopulation of the north, especially " by the hard, unnatural, 
uncharitable, and unchristian dealings of landlords '' was a 
heavy curse in the land for a long series of years, as may easily 
be supposed, when the only alternative which the unhappy 
creatures had was begging or stealing, as the opportunitv 
offered itself, till they made an end of their life by an untimely 
death. I can readily enumerate upwards of twenty hamlets 
and villages in my own immediate neighbourhood, which with 
the exception of the foundation walls, which are buried in the 
earth, have nearly or totally disappeared from the face of God's 
ground. The names of a few follow : — 






Barford near Streatlem. 



Dalton within Streatlem Park. 









Tutta or 













Dyance, &c., 

A great number of villages in the north which even still 
exist are left mere shadows of their former selves. 

The payment of a money rent was totally unknown on the 
Scottish Borders at least, until James VI. of Scotland ascended 
the English throne. 

Blood, Slough, or Sleuth Hound. 

The breed of this sagacious animal was used at an early 
period in the pursuit and detection of marauders, whose foot- 
steps it would trace with the most unerring accuracy, and a 
Borderer, either Scots or English, was entitled, if his dog 
could track the scent or footsteps, to follow the invader into 
the opposite kingdom, a privilege which often occasioned a 
great deal of bloodshed. So late as 1616 there was an order 
from the king's Commissioners of the Northern CWnties, that a 
certain number of sloughhounds should be maintained on the 
English Border. Nine of these dogs were kept at the charge of 
the people of Cumberland, and stationed at the following places 
bordering upon Scotland, viz. : one at the foot of Sark ; one at 
the moat within Sark ; one at the Bailie-head, near Arthuret ; 
one at Tinkler Hill ; one at Stapleton ; one at Irthington ; one 
at Lanereost ; one at Kirklington ; and one at Kawcliffe. See 
Button's Tour to the Roman Wall, pp. 82-83, London, 1813. 

It is said that the Annandale mosstroopers or freebooters 
made no bones of eating human flesh, and this I can readily 
believe, not only of them but also of others. In fact, we have 
several instances of their having done so, recorded in the 



memoirs of those times, and well authenticated. Witness 
Lord SouHs, a Scottish nobleman of royal descent, who had 
his residence at Hermitage Castle. Soulis, in consequence of 
a peevish remark rather than a command from his sovereign, 
was suddenly seized upon by his enemies and boil'd alive in 
an immense cauldron at the Nine Stane Rigg. When his body 
was thoroughly sodden each of the perpetrators partook of the 
broo : and if this be true, which is not only supported by current 
tradition but sober history, need we doubt that they would 
hesitate to eat the flesh of their victim also ! 

This cauldron it is said was long preserved at Skelf Hill, a 
hamlet between Hawick and Hermitage in Liddesdale ; but 
I am jealous that the " muckle-pot " which is there shown to 
the curious, is nothing more than a modern affair, probably left 
there by the Highlanders in the '45. 

Dagger Money. 

This custom still continues of each of the judges on leaving 
Newcastle having given to him by the mayor a bond fide broad 
Jacobus, to purchase a dagger for his defence during his journey 
across the English border to the city of merry Carlisle. 

See l^orth''s Life of Lord Keeper Guildford [temp. Car. IL] i. 
287, from whence I infer that the more ancient offering which 
which was even then presented to the judges by the sheriff" of 
Northumberland, was a " dagger, knife, penknife, and fork all 

Deadly Feud or Feides. 

A fostered or rather festered animosity and contention existed 
between the various tribes of the wild Cumberlanders, which 
also extended itself in an equal degree over the more favoured 
county of Northumberland. These deep-rooted and inveterate 


i.ostilities that were inherited from a resolute, restless, and 
vindictive ancestry, were long and fiercely prosecuted, even 
down to a comparatively recent period of time. The details of 
these clannish wars afford a horrid picture of the state of society 
on the Borders of both kingdoms, as regards the habits, manners, 
and morals of the people ; the authority of the Crown was totally 
disregarded, and club law universally prevailed. Grey in his 
Chorographia sketches a most sanguinary picture. He says : 
" If any two be displeased, they expect no lawe but bang it out 
bravely, one and his kindred against the other and his ; they 
will subject themselves to no justice, but in an inhuman and 
barbarous manner fight and kill one another ; they run together 
in clangs (clans) as they terme it, or names. This fighting 
they call their feids or deadly feides." 

The Borders have become the Middle of my Kingdom. 

The pleasant conceit of King James YI. and I., when he 
succeeded to the throne of England. And yet it was not only 
not at the moment of the king passing the Borders, but a 
considerable further length of time had to pass over of robbery, 
arson, and murder, in this unhappy country, before the in- 
habitants thereof could be induced to sit down contentedly in 
peace and order, and be satisfied with their own. At the very 
moment of the king's accession, or rather of his taking pos- 
session of the Crown of England, a body of some two or three 
hundred marauders, belonging to the West Marches, committed 
grievous robberies and riots, spreading their ravages as far as 

All praise and thanksgiving be given to Belted Will Howard 
for quelling the Borderers, and uprooting, as it were, the last 
seeds of deadly strife and contention ! 


A Muffled Man. 

This was a disguised person, who was made use of on the 
Borders of England and Scotland in cases o^ foray and invasion. 
The Miifled Man was not only unknown to the enemy but 
even to his own friends, with the exception of the chief of the 
invading party ; and the disguise was a necessary precaution 
for the guide's safety, for, had he been known, it would, 
beyond all doubt, have been the ready means of costing him 
his life at the hands of his enemy, although at a period ever 
so distant. 

Red Hand or Bloody Hand. 

A Borderer caught in the act and fact of committing a 
robbery, or in the act of carrying or driving away the stolen 
property, was said to be taken in the manner, with the Bloody 
or Red Hand, as it was called, and was generally doomed to 
the summary punishment of suspension upon the nearest tree, 
which contained a limb strong enough to bear the weight of 
the luckless freebooter. 

Carey's Raid. 

The spirit-stirring particulars of this English raid are 
minutely recorded by Sir Robert Carey, the warden of the 
West Marches, in his Memoirs, p. 151 &c., and it may also 
be met with in Scott's Border Minst. vol. i. , introduction to the 
ballad of " Johnnie Armstrong." One anecdote in connection 
with this celebrated raid is, howev^er, so extremely characteristic 
of the Scots freebooters, that it must on no account be over- 
looked. The '' Liddlesdale loons" have a tradition that while 
Sir Robert was besieging the outlawed Armstrongs in the bogs 
and forests on the Tarras, his enemies contrived, by ways and 
means known to themselves alone, to send a party into England, 


■vvlio plundered the warden's lands. On their return from 
one of these " raids " they exercised their Christian charity by 
sending Carey one of his own cows, telling him that, fearing 
he might fall short of provisions while lying in the waste, 
during his Scottish visit, they had sent him a carcase of English 


The Cocker and the Calder, 

Dutton and the Derwent, 

Eden and the Ellen, 

Eamont and the Esk, 

Greta and the Gelt, 

Leven and the Liddal, 

Irving and the Irt, 

Mite and Peterill (o?- Petterell), 
The Waver and Wampool. 

A collection of the names of the principal rivers and streams 
in this county, singular for its alliteration as well as alphabetical 

Skiddaw*, Lauvellinf , and Casticand|, 

Are the highest hills in all England. — (Ray.) 

On the summits of the mountains in the neighbourhood of St. 

* The perpendicular height of this hill above the level of the sea at 
low water is 3,022 feet. 

f The perpendicular height of Lauvellin is 3,055 feet above the 
level of the sea. Lauvellin is the same with Helvellyn. 

I The same with Catchedecam, which see below. 


Bees were '' many wild cats, foxes, and martins, with some 
eagles ^' almost within the memory of man. 

Cauld Cornwood, where the Devil wadn't bring his mother, 
But carried her up to High Crossfell, where the snow ligs baith 
winter and summer.* 

Cornwood is a small cultivated patch of country amongst the 
high moors near Alston. Its bleak situation, weeping climate, 
and barren soil, have rendered it a subject of ridicule to the 
more comfortably located inhabitants of the Vale of Tyne ; and, 
as in former days the inhabitants of different districts in the 
Border Counties were anything but good neighbours [excepting 
in cases of Scottish foray] , conflicts between such parties were 
not unfrequent. Crossfell, which according to the rhyme his 
infernal majesty preferred to the former, is a neighbouring 
mountain in Cumberland, a part of the Helvellyn range — wide, 
forlorn, and desolate. 

An old shepherd used to assert that previous to the hot 
summer of 1826, seven years snow was lying on the summit of 
Crossfell ; proveable from the fact that a thorn-bush near the 
place had shed the leaves of seven summers, which were 
separated by the snow of seven winters! This mountain is 
estimated at 20 miles in circumference, and 2,901 feet above 
the level of the sea. 

Scawfellf, and BowfellJ, and Catchedecain§, 
Are the three heest moontains 'at iwer man clam. 

The genuine Cumbrian version of the above rhyme. 

* This saying was communicated by William Pattison. Mr. 
Denham when mentioning this in a letter says : " I valued him as a 
correspondent, and he contributed to my gatherings no little." 

t 3,160 feet. f 2,911 feet in height. 

§ Forms the crest of Swirrel Edge. 


When Gelt puts on his Night-cap 'tis sure to rain ! 

Gelt or the Barn House Fell, is the last peak of the Helvellyn 
mountains. When a thick fog or mist gathers around the 
summit of this mountain on a morning, the old farmers shake 
their blanched heads and exclaim, " Ah, Gelt has got on his 
night-cap, 'tis sure to rain ! " 

If Skiddaw hath a cap, 

Scruff ell (*) wots full well of that. 

Two very high hills, one in this country, the other in Annan- 
dale in Scotland. If the former be capped with clouds or foggy 
mists, it will not be long before rain falls on the other. * It is 
spoken of such who may expect to sympathize in their sufferings, 
by reason of the vicinity of their situation. When Scotland, in 
the last century, felt its allegiance to England doubtful, and the 
French sent an expedition there, this saying was revived, to 
shew the identity of interest between the two nations. 

" There tow'ring Skiddaw wrapp'd in awful shade. 
Monarch of mountains, rears his mighty head, 
Dark'nhig with frowns fair Keswick's beauteous vale, 
He views beneath the gath'ring tempests sail ; 
Secure nor heeds the rolling thunders rage, 
Though Scrnffell trembling marks the dire presage." 

Mr. Thoresby, in his Diary, vol. i, 270-1, after quoting the 
above proverb, gives the following passing notice : — " 21 Sept. 
1694. Morning. Eastward we had the noted Skiddaw Hill 
on our right hand, Parnassus-like, which seems to emulate 
Scruffoll Hill." 

Turn tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet. 
* 3,100 feet above the sea. 


Inscribed Stone. 

Tarn me over and I'll tell 3'oa plain. 

The above verse (in the adjacent counties) is traditionally 
said to be inscribed on a laroje block of stone on one of the 
mountains in Cumberland, and, it is said, is often the means of 
inducing unwary travellers to put forth an extra degree of 
strength in order to accomplish the injunction, which deed, if 
attended with success, they then read : 

Hot broth macks hard crusts soft : 
Turn me over again. 

Roby in his Traditions of Lancashire mentions a stone of 
this class, which once existed near Hoghton Tower, not far 
from Preston. See vol. ii, p. 175, where a story of the " wisest 
of earthly monarchs " in connection with the said stone is well 
told. [Alas! Poor Roby ! !]. 

The version in the south of Scotland is, " Turn me o'er, and 
ril tell you more" ; and when this is done one may read on 
what had been the under surface of the stone : " Turn me o'er 

Eidstow Pike, Casticam, Helvellyn, and 

Skiddaw Man,* 

Ai*e the highest hills ever dumb by an Englishman. 

This proverb is quoted by Camden. [Not in Gibson's edition.] 

A Morlan fluid 
Never did guid. 

Morlan or Marian (evidently a corruption of Magdalene) 

* Upon the highest part of Skiddaw there is a little peak which 
bears this name. 



Fair, the second of the three Keswick Fairs, is held on the 
second day of August, Magdalene's day, 0. S. 

Floods are not uncommon about this period of the year, and 
are by no means valued. 

The yellerisli cries of Gelt Brigg tell 
The sufferings of Duke Will in Hell ! 

At Gelt Bridge a number of the followers of Bonnie Prince 
Charlie were most barbarously murdered by having their 
entrails taken out whilst alive and burnt. The country people 
say that at midnight the fearful cries of their murderers are 
still to be heard. Tradition also points out the spot where these 
brutal and bloody acts are said to have taken place upon the 
poor misguided and unfortunate followers of the ill-fated prince. 

Yellerish — the same with our Bishopbrigg word, yollering — 
i.e.y making a noise similar to dogs under chastisement. 

The Cumberlanders speak of Duke William in terms equal, 
or nearly so, with our more northern neighbours, the Scots. 
The common epithet, when speaking of his royal highness, is 
that of butcher. A stanza of a Scottish traditional sono; is so 
apposite to the textual rhyme that I transcribe it here : — 

" The deil sat girning in a nuke, 
Breaking sticks to burn the Duke ; 
All the Whigs shall gae to hell, 
And Geordie sail gae there hisscll." 

Caldbeck and Caldbeck Fells, 
Are worth all England else. 

The parish of Caldbeck was at one period extremely rich in 
mines of lead and copper, and a great variety of other minerals 
useful only for the cabinets of the curious. In the lliver Caldew 


an emerald was found in 1815. A loose sj^eclmen of lead ore 
was discovered on Nether row- brow^ which yielded silver in the 
proportion of 600 ozs. per ton. At Carrock there was formerly 
a very rich mine of copper. Many years ago a family lived in 
a hut on one of the fells in this parish, and coined silver money 
from the produce of the old mine called Silver Gill till they 
were discovered and forced to abscond. 

BoTHEL Spring ran with blood on the day of King Charles's 


A singular item in the popular creed of the common people 
in the parish of Torpenhow, in this county. 

Woe to this Bank ! 

Woto-Bank, in the parish of St. John, near Beckermet, or 
Beckermont, is said to have obtained its name from the following 
traditional story, which still holds its place among the legendary 
tales of the neighbourhood : — It is that, once upon a time, a 
lord of Beckermet, and his lady and servants, were hunting the 
wolf in their adjacent domains ; during the lengthened chase 
the lord missed his lady ; when, after a long and painful search, 
they at last found the remains of her body lying on this bank 
slain by a wolf; and the ravenous beast in the very act of 
tearing it to pieces, till frightened away by the dogs. In the 
first transport of his grief the words that the horror-stricken 
husband first uttered were, " Woe to this bank ! " since vulgarly 
called Woto-Bank. This brief legend is the groundwork of 
Mrs. Cowley's poem oi Edwina, 1794: — 

" For faithful lads ne'er pass, nor tender maid, 
But the soft rite of tears is duly paid ; 
Each can the story to the trav'ller tell. 
And on the sad disaster pitying dwell." 
M 2 


The Waste of Bewcastle. 

Tliis mountainous and desolate tract of country, borderint^ 
upon Liddesdale, in Scotland, in the wilds of Cumberland, wns 
formerly inhabited by a most notorious nest of English Free- 
booters. The captaincy of this district was generally held by 
the Chief of the Kixons. 

Cold Cumberland. 

This characteristic is given by Drayton in his Polyolbion, 
song xxxiii. 

Prophecy on Gilsland Well. 

In Cumberland there is a spring, 

And strange it is to tell, 
That many a fortune it Avill make 

If never a drop they sell. 

The prophetic rhymes are popularly understood to allude to 
Gilsland Spa ; respecting which there is a very curious tradi- 
tion, viz., that on the medicinal virtues being first discovered, 
the person who owned the land not resting satisfied, as would 
appear, with his profits which the influx of strangers to the 
place had caused, built a house over the spring with the inten- 
tion of selling the waters. But his avarice was punished in a 
very singular manner, for no sooner had he completed the house 
than the spring dried up, and continued so till the house was 
pulled down ; when lo ! another miracle, it flowed again as 

Whether true or fiilse, this story of antiquity enforces a most 
beautiful moral and religious precept. 



Let us go together, like the lads o' Drig and 
and the lasses o' Beckermont. 

The city of Barnscar, in this county, though now ruined and 
depopulated, is said to have been built by Danes, and to have 
been peopled from the adjoining villages of Drig and Becker- 
mont. Most extensive remains of the city still exist, covering 
an area of upward of 3 miles in circumference. 

Beckermont, also spelt Beckermot and Beckermet. 

" How's THAT ? " SAYS DUFTON. 

This saying is very common in Cumberland, and originated 
with the notorious thief of the name, who was in the habit of 
stealing corn from the granaries of the neighbouring farmers. 
Having first ascertained the whereabouts of the heap of cleansed 
corn, he then, by boring a hole with an auger through the floor 
of the granary and holding a sack immediately underneath, 
effected his purpose. On one occasion a farmer, who had 
suffered from his earlier depredations, had taken the precaution 
of nailing sheet iron over his boards, and Dufton, being unable 
to penetrate through the metal, gave vent to the above laconic 
expression, which has since become a popular saying. 



The people of Brampton assert that the first coach that passed 
through Token was followed by a crowd of its inhabitants in 
order to see the big wheels catch the little ones. 

Cumberland Jwohny. 

A satirical appellation for a Cumberland man, parallel with 
which are the following: — Essex Calves, Hampshire Hogs, 
Kentish Long Tails, Dorsetshire Dorsers, Huntingdon Stur-. 
geons, Lancashire Lonks, Lincolnshire Bagpipers, Leicestershire 
Bean-bellies, London Lick-pennies, Middlesex Clowns, Norfolk 
Dumplings, Yorkshire Tykes, and several others which I could 

Long Meg and her Daughters. 

A little from the conflux of the Eden and Eimont are two 
villages and forts called Great and Little Salkeld. At Little 
Salkeld is a circle of stones 80 yards in diameter, 77 in 
number, each 10 feet high, and before them, at the entrance, is 
a single one by itself 15 feet in height; this the common people 
call Long Meg, and the rest her Daughters. Within the circle 
are two heaps of stones (? cairns), under which it is said human 
bodies are interred. It is thought to have been a monument 
erected in honour of sonie victory, or at the solemn investiture 
of some Danish King. This collection of stones is alluded to 
by the three Norwich soldiers who visited the north in 1634 
" Stony Meg and her 77 daughters as hard-hearted as 

This descriptive name coincides pretty well with a monument 
of similar character in Northumberland, known as ^' The Mare 
and her Foal." 


[Long Meg and her Daughters was noticed by the Eev. John 
Horsley (1729-30). "The area contained within is about two 
acres. There was formerly a large barrow, but now the stones 
thereof are removed. The ground was opened out by order of 
the late Bishop Nicolson, and some urns were discovered. This 
confirms me that such like monuments, even Stonehenge itself, 
are sepulchral." Inedited Contributions to the Hist, of Northum- 
herland, p. 14. — J. H.] 


1, Either the Devil or Dick Senhouse. 

The family of Senhouse, of Wetherall, though always highly 
respectable, was no exception to the old adage that there's 
always a fool in a family (alluding, doubtless, to the ancient 
practice of keeping professional fools for amusement). One of 
that race was such a scant-o'-grace, or, to use a good old word, 
such a wastrell, that when anything especially unco' was done 
in the neighbourhood, the people were in the habit of saying it 
must either be the Devil or Dick Senhouse, which is a proverb 
to this day. 

2. Down with an Ace and up with a Tray, 

Or fare thee well, Worthell, for ever and aye. 

A member of the old family of Ballantyne of Dovenby was 
as noted for gambling as Dick Senhouse for every other folly. 
It is said of him that one day, Avhen he was playing at the 
ancient game of put (possibly with his good neighbour Dick), 
and one of his best farms was the stake — though the gods had 


not made him poetical, yet fear or rage did — facit indignatio 
versum, and he exclaimed in the above rhymes, which have 
since passed into a proverb. 

It seems that the King of Spades heard and granted his 
petition^ for Worthell is still in possession of the family. 

Worthell Hall, variously spelt Worthall and Warthel, is 
situate in the village of Gilchrist.* To perpetuate the remem- 
brance of this event, he had sculptured on the one end of his 
house, in accordance with the following various reading of the 
rhymes, the figure of the card Duce, and a Tray on the other, 
which remain at the present day. 

3 Up now Duce, or else a Tray, 

Or Worthell's gone for ever and aye. 

4. I will do it in spite of the Devil and 

Dick Senliouse. 

5. The Senliouses learn to play at Cards in 

tlieir mothers' bellies. 

The Senliouses of Netherall, or Alneburgh Hall, and Sea- 
scale, became proverbial for their predilections for cards and 
dice. Even Richard Senliouse, who was appointed to the See 
of Carlisle in 1624, could drip the die so pat, that one day 
at table with another to whom he was a stranger, his fellow 
exclaimed, in the words of the well-known Cumberland saying, 
" Surely it is either the Devil or Dick Senliouse." When 
joung Senhouse was a Cambridge scholar, coming down into 
the country to see his friends and relations, his horse happened 
to cast a shoe, but he had no money to pay the charges. 
"Well, well!" says the good-natured vulcan, ''go your way, 
and when you are bishop of Carlisle you must then pay me." 
This little incident was never forgotten by Senliouse, and both 

* See Dr. Dryasdust's Common Place Book, p. 231-2. 


before and after he was bishop of Carlisle he paid the honest 
blacksmith most abundantlj. Fuller says that Bishop Senhouse 
was a valiant man in his younger days, and that in his old ago 
he felt the admonitions of his youthful over-violent exercises. 

6. Symon Senus, Prior, sette y^^ roofe and 
scallope here, 
To ye intent wythin tliys place they shall have 
prayers every daye in y^ year. 

Within the deanery, Carlisle, is a curious painted ceiling. 
It is in many compartments, and consists of angels holding 
shields of arms, with labels inscribed with sentences of piety 
or supplication, and ornamented with roses, birds, scallop- 
shells, etc. On the sides of the cross-beams are several rude 
couplets. It was the work of Symon Senus (Senhouse), who 
became prior about the year 1507. 

There will be Dry Eyes at Holme when he Dies. 

The above saying, which is prevalent in the north-west part 
of the county, is valuable as characteristic of the dour and 
satirical disposition of the natives. When they wish to say a 
particularly severe thing ngainst any of the gentry, they re- 
mark, " When he dies there will be dry eyes at Holme." 

Holme, Abbey-Holme, or Holme Cultram Abbey, is the 
ancient burying-place of the gentry of that portion of Cumber- 
land. In this cemetery Richard of Musgrave lies buried : — 

Thence to Holme Cul tram's lofty nave, 
And laid him in his father's grave. 

Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

Observe, that Holme is a pun on home. 

If she says she will, she will ; she's 
Bessy o' Borrovvdale. 


A colloquial phrase somewhat parallel with that of Newcastle, 
viz.: " Honour bright, Bet Watt." 


John Bell, broken-brow 

Ligs under this stean : 
Four of mine een Sonnes 

Laid it on my weam. 
I was a man of my meate, 

Master of my wife. 
I lived on mine own land 

Without mickle strife. 

Epitaph, from Camden's Remains, at Farlam, near Naworth 
Castle, a manor in Gilsland Barony. 

The following is a copy of the will of another Cumberland 
worthy of the same " wight ridyng Sirname, gud honast menne 
and true, savynge a little shiftyng for their lyviug, God and our 
Leddie help them silie pure men."* 

I John Bell, 

Leaves this mell 

For to fell 
Them that gie all to their bairns 
And keep nought for their sell. 

A superstition once existed in the belief that a holy mawl 
(mell) hung behind the church door, which when the father 
of a family was 70 years of age, his eldest son might go and 
fetch and knock his father on the head, as he had become help- 
less to himself, and of no more use to his family. Old Master 
Aubrey is pretty diffuse on this singular superstition. 

♦ Bullein's '* Dialogue bothe pleasant and pietifull," &c., London, 
1573, reprinted in Rambles in Northumberland, ^c , p. 332. London, 


Is not the above superstition preserved in the following rhym- 
ing quatrain still popular in Berwickshire? — 

Young Willie, auld Willie, 

Willie amang the bairns ; 
Ance we get another Willie 

We'll knock out auld Willie's hairns.* 

In Scotland we also meet with the following rhymes : 

Auld Wull, and young Wull, 

And Wull o' middle age ; 
Ance we get another Wull, 

We'll lock auld Wull in a cage. — Berwick. 

The popular Scots version of the textual rhyme is : — 

He that takes a' his gear frae himsel 

An gies to his bairns, 
It were weel wair'd to take a mell 

An knock out his hairns (i.e. brains). 

Need I refer to the only too well-known usage of the South 
Sea Islanders, destroying living persons as soon as they become 
a burden to others ? An aged, or impotent, or decrepit person 
is rarely seen amongst them. 

The Italians have the following proverb : — 

Chi da il suo inanzi morire, il s'apparechia assai patire. 

So also the Spaniards have : — 

Quien da la suyo antes de moriz aparejese a bien sufrez. 

" Who parts with his own before his death, let him prepare 
for patience." [See Folklore^ vol. i.] 

The Organs would blow Bishop Potter out of the Church. 

Barnaby Potter was Bishop of Carlisle from 1628 to 1641 
(a troublous period). He was a native of Kendal Barony, 

* Brains. 


and was commonly called the puritanical bishop. They would 
say of him in the reign of King James that organs would 
blow him out of the Church. 

Georgius Cliffordius Cumberlandius, 
Doridus : regno : clarus : cum : vi : fulgebis. 


The anagram of George Clifford I'd Vescye, Earl of Cum- 
berland, temp. Eliz. and James. He died 1605. 

I living planted trees : of one is made 
The chest wherein my body now is laid. 

In the churchyard of the village of RochclifFe is the above 
singular inscription on a tombstone, to the memory of the Kev. 
W. Robinson. 

To see King George hung up at Eome, 
To see Frince Charley crowned at Scone : 
To see England tax'd, and Scotland free, 
It wad be the first thing that wad dan ton me. 

This stanza, from an old Jacobite ballad, assumes a rather 
prominent feature in the history of merry Carlisle. Its history 
is as follows : Jean Gordon, the poor and aged widow of a wan- 
dering tinker, arrived at Carlisle in one of her rambles after 
the rebellion, and on going up to Eickergate she spied the heads 
of some of the rebels on the top of Scothgate. Having an 
ardent regard for the Stuart family, old Jean broke out in a 
most furious rage against the house of Hanover and the 
English nation, and at intervals she lilted up the above verses. 
Poor Jean, who had been driven to a state of derangement by 
the wickedness of two vagabond sons, was left without a friend 
to rescue her from the vengeance of a tumultuous and brutal 
mob, who severely beat and ducked her in the river ; where. 


whenever she got her head above the water, she shouted " Up 
wi' Charley yet ! " The vulgar crowd, at length, having 
dreadfully bruised and nearly drowned the poor old creature, 
left her to shift for herself. She was found dead next morning, 
under a hedge, near the city. 

Wully's Black Horse. 
Tradition tells us that in the '45 the retreating rebels halted 
upon Beacon Hill near Penrith (which overlooks the town), for 
the purpose of planning its destruction ; but mistaking a distant 
plantation of trees for Wully's Black Horse, or at least some 
portion of their pursuing enemy, they precipitately "fled away 
and got them gone." For many long succeeding years this 
plantation was jocosely known as the Duke of Cumberland's 
Horse, but more generally by that of Wully's Black Horse. 

Sir Rowland Vaux, that sometime was the Lord of Triermaine, 
Is dead, his body clad in lead, and ligs law under this stane, 
Evin as we, evin so was he, on earth a levan man, 
Evin as he, evin so maun we, for all the craft we can. 

This epitaph with slightly varied orthography is (1880) 
inscribed on a brass in Lanercost Priory Church. — J. H. 

Under this hedge in frosty weather, 
I joined this whore and rogue together ; 
Let none but Jove who rules the thunder. 
Then put this whore and rogue asunder. 

Salathiel Court was born at Papcastle in the parish of Bride- 
kirk, in the early part of the eighteenth century. He was a 
schoolmaster ; but being of extremely intemperate habits, he 
often had to replenish his empty pitcher by painting signboards 
for the publicans, and celebrating illicit marriages. For an 
offence of the latter class he was ultimately transported to 


Tlie above versos he sent to a neighbouring magistrate as the 
certificate of the union of two profligates. 

He that fetcheth a wife from Shrewsbury must carry her into 
Staffordshire, or else he shall live in Cumberland. 

No explanation that I have hitherto seen of the above singular 
phrase is worth the trouble of copying. Even the following 
variation is equally mystical. 

He that takes a wife at Shrewsbury must carry her into Stafford- 
shire, or else she'll drive him to Cumberland. — Fuller. 

In fact, the saying appears to have been a puzzle or conundrum 
to every annotator of our English Proverbial Philosophy. I take 
it, however, to be simply a pun upon the first syllables of the 
above-named town and counties, viz. : shrew, staff,* and cumber, 
and if I am correct, it will bear the following translation : — 

If a man marries a shrew {ie. a peevish, malignant, clamorous, 
spiteful, vexations, turbulent woman), he must take a staff to 
her back ; otherwise (as Petticoats wear the Breeches), she will 
ere long begin to lead him a sad Cuniberf-somo life. 

Grose has ])reserved a southern parallel proverb, which also 
must be explained by the rule laid down in the above note. 
The proverb is : — 

An old man who weds a buxom young maiden biddeth fair to 
become a freeman of Buckingham. 

* In soro and car he led hys life, 

That have a schrow ontyll his wyfe. 

MS. XV. cent. 
+ Eed the cumber. Ballad of the Raid of Eeidsivire ; that is, 
Quell the tumult. Again, Carey, Earl of Monmouth, 1598, says, 
" The outlaws of Liddlesdale kept him a great while in cumber," 
i.e. trouble. 



That is an ignorant fellow. Borrowdale, an extremely wild 
out of the way valley, commences at the head of Derwent lake, 
and at an early period was called Bore, or Boar-dale. The 
mountain at its southern extremity is still called Sty-Head; 
and is said to be the place where wild boars " were wont to feed 
in summer, and fall down in autumn into this dale, where they 
fed upon nuts and acorns." 

Sandies Bairns. 

In the list of Border Clans, 1597, Will of Kinmonth, with 
Kirsty Armstrang, and John Skynbank, are mentioned as 
leaders of a band of Armstrangs, called Sandies Bairns, 
inhabiting the Debateable Lands. Scott's Bord. Mins. Note 
on Kinmont Willie. 

Tacking Men. 

" lately on the Borders, 
Where there was nought but theft and murders, 
Rapine, cheating, and resetting, 
Slight-of-hand fortunes getting ; 
Their designation, as ye ken. 
Was all along the Tacking Men." 


What manner of cattle-stealers they are that inhabit these 
valleys in the inarches of both kingdoms John Lesley, himself a 
Scotchman, and bishop of Ross, will inform you. They saUy 
out of their own Borders in the night, in troops, through 
unfrequented by-ways and many intricate widings. All the 
day-time they refresh themselves and their horses in lurking 
holes, they had pitched upon before, till they arrive in the dark 
in those places they have a design upon. As soon as they have 


seized upon the booty, they in like manner return home in the 
night, through blind ways, and fetching many a compass. Tlie 
more skilful any captain is to pass through these wild deserts, 
crooked turnings, and deep precipices in the thickest mists, his 
reputation is the greater, and he is looked upon as an excellent 
head. And they are so very cunning that they seldom have 
their booty taken from them, unless when, by the help of blood- 
hounds followed them exactly upon the track, they may chance 
to fall into the hands of their adversaries. When, being taken, 
they have so much persuasive eloquence, and so many smooth 
insinuating words at command, that if they do not move their 
judges, nay and even their adversaries (notwithstanding the 
the severity of their natures), to have mercy, yet they incite 
them to admiration and compassion. — Camden's Britannia. 

These gentry were also called prickers, riders, reavers, moss- 
troopers, freebooters, cattle-drivers, hobbylers, lifters, limners 
[limmers?], marchmen, borderers, nights'-men, bogtrotters, 
mossers, snatchers — 

Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock 
At the lone gate and try the lock. 

La?/ of the Last Minstrel. 

Archee Armstroxg's Stool of Eepentance. 

Archibald Armstrong, a native of Arthuret, was the recog- 
nised jester or fool of James the First, and allowed his tongue 
full license. Archee fell into disgrace at court for calling Laud, 
the Archbishop of Canterburj'-, " a monk, a rogue, and a 
traitor," and for this offence had his coat pulled over his head 
and was kicked out of court, never more to enter. He had, 
however, before this event took place, made a considerable 
fortune. On the introduction of the Liturgy into Scotland he 
jestingly called the stool flung at the dean, who read the epis- 
copal service in Edinburgh, the stool of repentance — but 


Archee's jests brought his own breech in contact with the stool 
of repentance sooner than lie calculated upon. 

One day, when Archbishop Laud was just about to say grace 
before dinner, Archee begged permission of the king to perform 
that office in his stead ; and having received it, said, " All 
pra'se to God, and little Laud to the Devil." 

Another story told of daft Archee who, " Armstrong like, 
thieves all," had, it seems, an appetency for reiving in a small 
way, and having one day stolen one of his neighbour's sheep, 
and being suspicious that the owner knew the road it had 
travelled, he placed the dead animal in the cradle by the fire- 
side, and by that cunning trick he avoided detection. 

Archee in age retired into Cumberland, and dying at 
Arthuret, was, appropriately enough, buried in the cemetery- 
garth of his native town on All Fools' Day. 

The Lady's Dowry. 

In Naworth Castle was a bedstead, on the purchase of which, 
tradition says, was expended the enormous sum of five hundred 
jiounds, the whole fortune of the lady of one of the olden barons. 
And from this circumstance it derived its name of the Lady's 
Dowry. But all is now gone, lady, dower, and bedstead ; and 
not a vestige remains to tell that they ever had existence, save 
and except in the legends of romance and the lays of the 
minstrel. The bedstead was destroyed by the fire svliich con- 
sumed the greater portion of that border stronghold, Saturday, 
May 18th, 1844. 

Sic : transit : gloria : etc. 

I do know better nor that, for o' aw come out o' Coverdale. 

This saying will be best illustrated by the story of the 
Coverdale farmer, who went to pay his landlord his half-year's 




rent; and when introduced to the 'Squire, who, by the way, 
was taking his otinm cum dignitate in a room the floor of which 
was only partially covered Avith a rich carpet, instead of taking 
his course direct across the room went round the sides thereof, 
which were uncovered. His landlord perceiving this, said to 
him, " John, John ! don't walk there, but walk upon the 
carpet." The answer was, '* Nay, nay! canny maister; I do 
know better nor treed atop o' your bonny happins, for o' aw 
come out o' Coverdale." 

BoBN Ayont the Gerse-Dyke. 

A saying expressive, I believe, of extreme ignorance, and 
evidently referring to the Roman earthwork defence. 

Poor Johnny Reay ; 
Mickle corn, but little streea. 

I cannot properly locate this rhyme ; it was, however, told 
me by a native of Nent-head, in the parish of Alston. 

It is spoken in derision of the propensity which farmers have 
for grumbling about the times and seasons. 

The Men of Drio, and the Women of Beckermont. 

This saying is fully explained by that recorded at the head 
of this section. See p. 165. 

To Bide Nixon's Glow. 

A feud had long existed between the Nixons of Bewcastle 
and the Johnstons of Annandale. Nixon, when blind with age, 
was asleep after dinner in his castle. On awaking he said that 
the Johnstons were looking in at the windows, and were to 
fire the house. His wife said that was impossible, for about 


this time a party wliich had been sent out from the castle 
would be attacking the Johnstons in their own hold, and 
bringing off the cattle. The blind old man was, however, right. 
Young Johnston was lookino; in at a small window niche, and 
heard the conversation. Enraged at finding that his home- 
stead was made the subject of attack, ho ordered his followers 
to close the doors of the castle and fire it. Old Nixon attempted 
to escaped by a window, but stuck in the aperture, which was 
too small for his body to pass through, and there miserably 

Hence the phrase signifies " to suffer some terrible calamity." 
After setting the castle on fire, Johnston set out to meet the 
party that had been attacking his home. He conquered them, 
and retook his cattle. See Nicolson's Cumberland. 

The White Harvest. 

There is a tradition in Cumberland that the sweetest of all 
sweet songs, the Flowers of the Forest^ was the composition, 
not of a Scotch, but an English Borderer. It is almost capable 
of historical proof that most of the young men of Cumberland, 
capable of bearing arms, were di'auglited to go to the battle, 
which it describes,* and to this day the harvest of that year 
goes by the name of the " White Harvest " in that county. 
It is supposed to have been so called from the circumstance of 
the youth having been taken to the war just at the approach 
of harvest, leaving the crop to be shorn or reaped only by 
persons with grey or white hairs. This is pathetically lamented 
in the song — 

" In har'st at the shearing, nae swankies are jeering, 
The bandsters are wrinkled, and lyart, and grey." 

Boucher's Gloss., p. 56. — [J. H.] 

* Namely, to that of Flodden Field, fought Friday, 9 Sept. 1513. 



High and Low Willey Wastel. 

On the village green, Cumwliittoii, are two artificial mounts, 
formerly used as butts for exercising archers, so called, and in 
all probability from the archer of olden time, whose name is 
still celebrated in local song. 

Jack Musgrave, Captain of Bewcastle. 

A bold Borderer, of the time of our eighth Harry. He 
planted five of his sons at Plumpton, with many of his de- 


1. Nearer God's blessing than Carlisle Fair. 

Carlisle Fair, or as it is called by the country people Card 
Fair, is holden on the 26th of August, and is so noted for the 
number and variety of its amusements and choice commodities, 
that there is hardly a villager within the circuit of 10 miles who 
does not attend it ; save and except perhaps two or three un- 
happy nymphs and swains, whom the authority of a morose 
parent or a churlish master or mistress confine at home. 

In Allan Ramsay's collection of Scots Proverbs we meet with 
the following — 

" God's help is nearer than tlie fair e'en." 

In Lancashire the natives have a local saying — 

" God's grace and Pilling Moss arc endless." 

2. The sun shines fair, etc., etc. 

See illustration of this and other Carlisle proverbs^ pp. 147,- 
et seq. 

3. Here chicks in eggs for breakfast sprawl, 
Here godless bojs God's glories squall ; 
While Scotsmen's heads adorn the wall, 
But Corby's walks atone for all. 


The above verses on Carlisle and Corby were written by 
David Hume when he visited this part of the country about the 
year 1750. They were originally written upon a pane of 
glass at the Old Bush Inn at Carlisle, and were communicated 
to Mr. Howard by Sir Walter Scott. 

An old traveller who visited Carlisle in 1634 writes — " The 
organ and voices did well agree, the one being like a shrill 
bagpipe, the other like the Scottish tone." 

The rocky and richly Avooded banks of the Eden, both above 
and below Corby, are the deh'ght of every visitor to this part of 
the kingdom. 

" For Paradise's seat, no more 
Let travellers search on Persia's shore ; 
Its groves still flourishing appear, 
Upon the east of Edeu here." 


4. Carlisle, a sea port without ships, merchants, or trade. 

This town is, however, happily situated for the supply of 
water, an element indispensable in the real comfort of its 
inhabitants. The Caldew, or Caude, a pure and rapid stream, 
runs on the west side of the city, dividing it from the suburbs, 
and increases the water of the Eden. The latter is a large and 
beautiful river, passing close to the town, over which there is a 
handsome stone bridge, but the river is too rapid for navigation. 
The Peterell on the south also flows into the Eden, which in its 
turn ere long empties itself into the Solway Firth. In 1823 
the Carlisle Ship Canal was completed, and extended from 
Carlisle to the Solway at Fisher's Cross, a distance of about 11 
miles. It is navigable for vessels of from 80 to 100 tons. 

At Carlisle immense quantities of small silver coins have been 
found, which arc called '' St. Cutlibert's pence." They are sup- 
posed to have been coined at Durham. 



1. Little London. 

Penrith is so called, I suppose, on account of tlie extreme 
love of dress and gaiety which universally predominates 
throughout the whole of the feminine portion of the inhabitants 
of this pretty little town. 

Hingham in Norfolk is also so called from the same cause. 

2. Peerless Penrith. 

Drunken Barnahy, in his Itinerarium, Lond. 1774, p. 151, 
notices the above characteristic in the following couplet : — 

" Thence to Peerless Penrith went I, 
Which of merchandise hath plenty." 

Distington, "Workington, Harrington, Dean, 
Hail, Ponsonby, Westlington, and others between ; 
Kinnyside, Egremont, Barton, St. Bees, 
Clea, Cockermouth, Calder and mair besides these. 

A rhyming enumeration of the names of 14 towns and 
villages in this county. 

East, West, North, South, 
Kirby, Kendal, Cockermouth. 

A various form of this local ihyme is used by nurses and 
children when playing at a certain game on the fingers, in 
which the last word is parodied to Cock-him-out. 


In the above district is found a kind of soft white stone or 
earth, which, from its name, was probably used at one period in 
fulling cloths. When this earth has undergone a chemical 
process similar to that by which black lead (plumbago) is 
hardened, it makes very excellent slate pencils. 


Cakny Coomerlan'. 

On the authority of North Dalrymple, Esq., who quotes it 
as the characteristic used by our Scottish friends and neigh- 
bours. The same characteristic is applied to Carlisle. 

When a Bull shall toll Lanercost Bell, and a Hare bring forth on 
Naworth's hearth-stane, Lanorcost shall fall, Naworth be burned 
down, and Dalstone Church be washed away. 

This old prophecy is still remembered by those who have 
listened to the stories and believe in the power of grammery. 
A bull, it is said, did toll the bell of Lanercost, and a hare has 
brought forth on Naworth hearth-stone ; so the prophecy has 
now in part been fulfilled, for Lanercost is a ruin, and Naworth 
Castle has been destroyed by fire. Dalston Church, however, 
still stands. 

The Five Towns above Cocker. 

Brigham, Eaglesfield, Dean, Graysouthen, and Clifton, are 
in ancient deeds^ called " the five towns above Cockex'." 

" The Luck of Edenhall." 

1. If that glass either break or fall, 
Farewell the luck of Edenhall ! 

2. If this glass do break or fall, 
Then farewell all luck in Edenhall ! 

3. Whenever this cup shall break or fall. 
It is farewell the luck of Eden Hall ! 

The above are the printed forms of this old Cumberland 
rhyme ; but whenever I have heard it used orally, either in 


the counties of Westmoreland or Cumberland, it always ran 

tlms : — 

If ever this cup either break or fall, 
Farewell the luck of Edenall-Hall ! 

In Edenhal], Cumberland, tlie mansion of the knightly family 
of Musgrave, is preserved, in a leathern case, an old drinking 
glass, bearing the sacred monogram and enamelled in colours, 
which, according to the tradition of the neighbourhood, was 
many long years ago taken from some fairies near a well dedicated 
to St. Cuthbert, not far distant from the house. This glass is 
supposed, and with great justice, to have been a sacred chalice ; 
but the legendary tale is, that the butler, going to draw water, 
surprised a company of festive fairies who were amusing them- 
selves on the soft s-reensward which surrounded the well. He 
seized the glass, which was standing upon its margin ; they 
tried to recover it, but after an ineffectual struggle flew away, 
repeating one of the versions of the rhyme quoted above. 

From this friendly caution the glass obtained the name 
recorded in an excellent ballad of a famous drinking match at 
this hospitable mansion, which begins thus : — 

" God prosper long from being broke, 
The luck of Eden-hall ; 
A doleful drmking-bout I sing, 
There lately did befall." 

The good fortune, however, of this ancient house was never 
so much endangered as by the Duke of Wharton, who having 
drank its whole contents to the success and prosperity, no 
doubt, of its worthy owner and his race, inadvertently dropped 
it ; and here most certainly would have terminated tlie Luck of 
Eden-hall, if the butler, Avho had brought the draught, and had 
stood at his elbow to receive the empty vessel, had not happily 
caught it in his napkin. It is not now, however, subjected to 


such risks ; but the lees of wiuc are still apparent at the bottom 
of the glass. 

Sir Walter Scott, in his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 
vol. ii., p, 130, makes the following remark when noticing this 
fairy prophecy : "It is still currently believed that he who has 
the courage to rush upon a fairy festival and snatch from 
them their drinking-cup or horn, shall find it prove a cornucopia 
of good fortune if he can bear it safely away across a running 

A coloured engraving of The Luck of Edenhall is given in 
Lysons' Cumberland, p. 209. A horn of this class is saitl to 
have been presented to Hen. I. by a lord of Colchester. (Gervas 
Tilb. 980.) 

The ballad above quoted is commonly attributed to the Duke 
of Wharton, but in reality was composed by Captain Philip 
Lloyd, of Swaledale, Yorks., one of the duke's jovial com- 

The Luck of Muncaster. 

Durinof the civil wars between the Houses of York and Lan- 
caster. Hen. VI., in his adversity, found a refuge in the house 
of Sir John Pennington [at Furness], a gallant knight who had 
distinguished himself in the King's service. At parting his 
Majesty, in testimony of his good will to the famil}', left them a 
favourite driidcing cup of glass, which, from the general opinion 
of that monarch's sanctity, was called tlie Luck of Muncaster ; 
this motto is engraved on the cup. It was for a long series of 
years preserved at Binchcster Hall, near Bishop Auckland, with 
great care, as entailing a blessing on the family. Where the 
cup is now, I wot not. 

Hey for Cumberland, ho ! 

A Cumberland cry; also the name of a popular local tune 
and ballad. 



The Manks and the Scotch come so near as to throw their 
Beetles at one another. 

A traditional prophetic saying used in the north of the island. 
It is stated in Holinshed's Chronicles of Scotland, that Agrieola, 
the Roman general, wanting vessels to carry his army over from 
Scotland to the Isle of Man, such as could swim and knew the 
shallow places of the coast made shift to pass the gulph, and so 
got to land, to the great wonder of the inhabitants. 

The land is assuredly gaining yearly on the sea in the point 
of Ayre, and the Northerns look forward to their saying being 
ultimately fulfilled, notwithstanding there is still so much to 
fill up. 

Like a Manks Cat, hasn't a tail to wag. 

Spoken of a person who is totally unable to clear himself of 
an imputation with which he is charged. 

As equally as the Herring's back-bone doth lie in the 

MIDST OF the fish. 

This expression forms one section of the oath administered to 
the Deemster, which oath, being rather unique, I quote in full : 
*' By this book and by the holy contents thereof, and by the 
wonderful works that God hath miraculously wrought in heaven 
above, and in the earth beneath, in 6 days and 7 nights, I, 


A. B., do swear that I will, without respect of favour or friend- 
ship, love or gain, consanguinity or affinity, envy or malice, 
execute the laws of this Isle, justly betwixt our Sovereign Lady 
the Queen and her subjects within this place, and betwixt party 
and party, as indifferently as the Herring's back-bone doth lie 
between the two sides." The Deemsters, of whom there are 
two, are the supreme judges, both in cases of common law and 
life and death. The office is of very high antiquity, and it is 
mentioned in the statute book so early as the year 1422 ; 
they are styled in the ancient Court Rolls, Justiciarii Domini 
Regis, and derive their name from the original nature of their 
office, which was '' to deem the laws truly to the parties " in 
any question of doubt. 

The saying will, no doubtj remind the Manksmen of his duty, 
as well as the judge, by their allusion to his almost daily dish. 

The Arms of Man are its Legs. 

A punning proverb. A valued correspondent resident in the 
isle informs me that the only jManksman mentioned in history 
was one that ran away. If so, he kept the arms, or rather the 
legs, of his nation well in his remembrance. Probably he was 
acquainted wdth the following old rhyming witicism : 

" He that fights and runs away, 
May live and fight another day : 
But he that is in battle slain, 
Can never hope to fight again." 

At first Eden was given to Man, 
A garden to work and to feed in ; 

But now we've an opposite plan, 
For Man is given to Eden. 

The circumstance of the Hon. and Rev. R. J. Eden (vie. of 


Stockton) having recently been promoted to the Bishopric of 
Sodor and Man has given origin to the above impromptu by a 
contributor to the Edinburgh Evening Post, 1847. 

Do as they do in the Isle of Man, 
Hows tliat ? They do as they can. 

In the Bishopric of Durham we have a saying, anent a small 
out-of-the-way uplandish hamlet towards the head of Teesdale, 
which we are rather guilty of using (although in a jesting manner) 
when we hear any of our neighbours complaining of their larder 
or aumbrey being nearly empty, to wit, " You must do as they 
do at Kelton, when they've nothing to eat." Very poor conso- 
lation this for an empty stomach, I trow. 

Dulce of Athol, King of Man, 

Is the greatest Man in all this Lan'. 

Nisbet in his Heraldry, Appendix to vol. ii. p. 201, says: 
" I shall conclude with the opinions of all the great lawyers in 
England who have had occasion to mention the Isle of Man, 
viz., that it is a royal fief of the crown of England, and the 
only one: so that I may say without censure, that if his Grace 
the Duke of Athol is not the richest subject of the King of 
England, he is the greatest man in his Majesty's dominions." 

Besides the title of Duke of Athol, the following honours are 
thickly strewn upon the ancient family of Murray : — Captain 
General, Governor, and Lord Proprietor of the Isle of Man 
Marquis of Tullibardine and Athol ; Earl of Tullibardine. Athol 
Strathtay and Strathardle ; Viscount Balquhidder, Glenalmond 
and Glenlyon; Baron Murray of Tullibardine, Balvenie and Gask 
Lord of the Isle of Man ; Constable of the Castle of Kincleven, 
and Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace. His English titles 
are — Earl Strange, Baron Strange, of Knockyn, county Salop, 


Murray and Stanley, county Gloucester. The family of Murray 
made a complete surrender of aU tlie!r kingly privileges in the 
Isle of Man, after long negociation, which commenced as early 
as 1726, into the hands of the English Government in 1829, 
receiving on the whole £416,114 sterling. 

George Augustus Frederick John Murray, living 1850, is the 
sixth Duke of Athol. Present Duke, Sir John James Hugh 
Henry Stewart Murray, K.T. &c. [This saying looks like an 
attempt to versify Nisbet, the herald's statement.] 


This celebrated eminence, called in the Manks language 
Cronk Keeillown, which signifies the hill of St. John's Church 
(now the Tynwald Hill) stands on the right of the main road 
from Douglas to Peel, and near the chapel of St. John. This 
ancient mound is of a circular form ; the approach to the top is by 
a flight of steps cut in the turf, directly facing the ancient 
chapel. There are three circles of grass seats or benches below 
the summit, which are regularly advanced 3 feet above each 
other. The circumference of the lowest is about 80 yards ; 
there is a proportionate diminution of the circumference and 
width of the two higher ; the diameter of the top of the hill is 
6 feet. Prior to any act of the legislation becoming the laws of 
the land, it must be promulgated in Manks and English from 
this hill, the Lieutenant-governor and the staff of government 
attending. The order of the ceremony runs thus : — On the 
summit of the mound sits the Lord, or his lieutenant, with his 
face fronting the east, and h's sword upright in his hand ; 
before him sit the two Deemsters; on the highest circle his 
barons and beneficed men; in the middle the twenty-four keys, 
" formerly styled the worthiest men in the island" ; and on the 
lowest the knights, squires, and yeomen ; while the commons 
stood without the circle, with three clerks in their surplices. The 


hill was guarded by tlic coroner and moars armed with swords 
and axes ; and a proclamation was issued by the coroner of 
Glenfaba denouncing those who should murmur in the king's 

The most singular circumstance in connection with this hill 
is, that it is formed of soil collected from every parish in the 
island. The old chapel has been taken down and a new one 
erected on the same site, a.d. 1847. 

All the bairns unborn will rue the day, 
That the Isle of Man was sold away : 
And there's never a wife that loves a dram 
But what will lament for the Isle of Man ! 

This quatrain shows that the inhabitants of the Isle of Man 
had no little dread that their favourite drams would, upon the 
island being sold, come under the ban of the English excise 
laws. This, however, has not yet been the case, and the wives 
of Man, both mekyll and lytill, clde and zynge, indulge in their 
leetle drops as profusely as they did before that awful event took 
place ! 

1. God keep the house and all within 
From Cut MacCuUoch and all his kin. 

The Poor Manksman's Prayer. 

2. God keep the good corn, 

The sheep and the bullock, 
From Satan, from sin, 

And from Cutlar MacCulloch. 

The Rich Manksman's Prayer. 

Cutlar MacCulloch was a powerful Gallovidian rover, who 
made repeated excursions into the northern part of the island 
about 1507, carrying off all that he could lay his hands on ; 


SO that the inhabitants used to eat the sodden meat before tliej 
supped the broth, lest they should be deprived of the more 
substantial part. On one of these occasions as the master of 
the house had just repeated one of these rhymes. Cutlar in 
person made his appearance with this reply : — 

Gademan, gudeman, ye pray o'er late, 
MacCJullocli's ship is at the yate. 

The yate is a well known landing place on the north side of 
the island. These incursions caused watch and ward to be 
maintained Avith the greatest strictness for a long time after- 

The Mank's Sea Harvest, 

The prayer of the Litany of the Mank's Church, beginning : 
'' Preserve to us the kindly fruits of the earth," is added : 
" and restore and continue to us the blessings of the sea." 
This Avas introduced into the church by good Bishop Wilson, 
and was first inserted in the Manks Book of Common Prayer, 
in 1779. Herrings formerly were the chief, and still continue 
to be a great staple commodity of the island ; and before 
leaving the harbour in the evening to go out to fish, a clergy- 
man used to perform divine service to the assembled fishermen. 
This is now discontinued ; yet upon leaving the harbour, and at 
a sign from the master of the boat, every man upon his knees, 
with uncovered head, or his face in his hat, implores for a 
minute the blessing and protection of the Almighty in the way 
he thinks best. The season of this sea harvest commences about 
July, and continues till the end of October. A boat has been 
known to bring in as many as 98,400 herrings, the produce of 
one night's catch. 


When Satliane tryed liis arts in vaine, 

The worship of the Lordc to gaine, 

The yird, he said, and all be thine, 

Except ane space, that mann be mine. 

Though bare it is, and scarce a span, 

By mortals called the Ysle of Man; 

That is a place I cannot spare, 

For all my choicest friends are there. 

(From Irvine's Historice Scoticce Nomen- 
clatura, 1682, quoted in Train's 
Isle of Man, i. p. 30.) 

The natives of the island have a tradition that Mona is the 
original paradise ! If so the arch enemy, from the above, 
appears to stick to it to the last. Many places in Man have 
scriptural names. IiTount Sinai is the name of a Iiill opposite 
Ballachrinck, St. John's. 

Mannagh vow Cliagiitey, Cliaghtey, nee Cliagiitey coe. 

That is, if custom is not indulged with custom, custom will 
weep ! 

Manksmen are very tenacious of any deviation from ancient 
custom, and commonly make use of this exclamation. 

Hit Him again, for he's Irish. 

There appears to have been among the Manks people an old 
and deep-rooted antipathy to the people of that nation, origi- 
nating most probably in some sudden descent upon them by 
the Irish in days of old. In the Book of Orders^ made b}'' the 
Earl of Derby in 156] , it is ordered " That Irish women, 
loytering and not working, be commanded forth of the said 
Isle with as much convenient speed as may be, and no Boate 
hereafter to be suffered to bring any of the said loytering 


persons into the isle, but that upon paine and forfeiture of his 
Boate and Goods, after warning given him, take the saide 
persons to him againe." There are many persons at the 
present day who look upon them with much the same sort of 

On the English and Scottish Borders we meet with the 
same parallel proverb applied to the natives of the respective 

There will neither be Clag kor Kielain. 

That is, there will neither be large nor little bell, intimating 
thereby that there will be no service at church, or rather, as 
the saying is evidently of Koman Catholic origin, there will 
neither be prayers nor mass. 

Tra ta yn derry vought cooney lesh bought elley [ta see 


That is, when one poor man assists another, God himself 

Considering the limited means of the Manks people, there 
are none more benevolent to the poor. The pauper portion of 
the population is supported by voluntary contributions, there 
being no poor's-rates in the island, the applicant generally 
receiving a plate of meat. It is customary for these walkers, 
as they are called, to enter a house without knocking, and take 
a seat by the fire. Many old respectable inhabitants consider 
it inhospitable to have a knocker on their doors, and some still 
retain the good old custom of keeping up a bed for the walker, 
should night overtake him on their " street," as the road 
leading to their house is called. 

* Camden's Britannia, by Gibson, col. 1445. 


Ten L's, thrice X with V and II did fall. 
Ye Manks take care, or suffer more ye shall. 

According to Camden, this rhyme orglnated on the Scottish 
Conquest of the Isle of Man. The Scots troops disembarked 
at Derby Haven, on the seventh of October, 1270, and next 
morning before sunrise a battle was fought, in which the above 
number of the islanders fell, bravely fighting for the liberty of 
their country. 

L decies, X ter, et penta duo cecidere, 
Mannica gens de te, darana futura cave. 

If the Puffin's nest was not robbed in the Calf of Man, 

THEY would breed THERE NO LONGER. 

The Coulterneb Puffin, down to the beginning of the century, 
used to frequent the Calf of Man in large numbers, to build 
their nests in the burrows made by the rabbits. It hatches one 
bird at a time, but if the egg be taken away it will lay another, 
and even a third in the same place. This may have led to the 
saying. They have now, however, deserted the spot, said to 
have been caused by a swarm of Norway rats, cast on shore 
from a Bussian vessel which was wrecked on the coast ; 
probably the light-houses now erected on the spot are the real 

In the north of England this bird is locally known by the 
name of Tommy-Noddy. It is a visitant of the Fame Islands 
and lays its egg in the same singular situation. 

Manksman-like, a day behind the Fair. 

This is commonly used by the English residents on the island. 
A native rarely attends punctually to his appointments, 11 
o'clock is generally taken as 12 by him ; and often if he gets 
there in the course of the day, he will say : " It's not so bad." 
The Manks people are not singular in this besetting sin. 


Holding by the Straw. 

A writer on the laws of Mona, 1784, says: "They have 
still the power of life and death to banish- or condemn to per- 
petual imprisonment; to raise men and money; to place or 
displace an officer in the island at their own pleasure ; and all 
fines and forfeitures in cases of treason, felony, and felo-de-se, 
do belong to them. The greatest difference between a king 
and lord of Man is, that the kings were crowned, whereas 
the lords are now only proclaimed and installed. The king 
creates barons, makes knights and esquires, but the lords never 
confer any titles of honour. The Kings of Man in old times, 
according to Manks tradition, claimed the whole island and all 
the revenues thereof, as belonging to the crown. The inhabi- 
tants had no right to any inheritance in the island, but were 
only tenants at will, and held their lands of the king for 
the performance of certain duties and services. And this 
tenure they called the Jioldlng by the Straio, which was first 
changed into leases for three lives during the civil wars, thereby 
to augment the lord's revenues, the tenants being then obliged 
to pay yearly a quit-rent, and a fine at renewal. The Kings of 
this Isle have at different times been tributary both to the kings 
of England, Scotland, and Norway, and were obliged in token 
of subjection to these. states to pay a certain homage at the 
coronation of any of the princes of these kingdoms. They have 
made many wars in attempts to enlarge their dominions beyond 
the confines of this little island." 

Our Enemies the Eedshanks, or Goblin Marrey. 

This at no distant period was a common nickname for a 
Scotch Highlander, of whom Manksmen used formerly to bo 
very suspicious. 



With one leg I spurn Ireland ; 
With the second I kick Scotland ; 
And with the third I kneel to England. 

Spoken of the three legs of Man. The arms of the island are, 
Gules, three armed legs argent, conjoined in a fess at the upper 
part of the thighs, flexed in triangle, garnished and spurred 
topaz. The motto is '' Quocunque Jeeeris Stabit. "Whatever 
way you throw me I will stand.'' [Whichever way you shall 
have thrown it, it will stand.] This device is said to have been 
adopted by Alexander III. of Scotland, about 1270. Each 
knee is bent, as if performing a genuflection, which is supposed 
to refer to the position of the island, with respect to England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, when each was a separate kingdom. So 
that in whatever posture the insignia are placed, one leg only 
can assume the attitude of kneeling, and no transposition of the 
motto can change their true meaning. 


The Lieutenant-governor, in his civil caj^acit}^, is the Staff of 
Government, and as such presides in all the Legislative Courts. 
He receives a White Staff" on his instatement, and swears that 
he will deal truly and uprightly between the Queen and her 
subjects in the Isle of Man, and as indifferently between party 
and party as this staff" now standeth, holding at the same time 
the ensign of his authority in the most erect position. 

It is spoken proverbially of a person who carries himself in a 
stiff and erect manner. 

Time enough ! Time enough ! quoth the Manksman. 

This Manks procrastinator is sure to come out when anything 
is to be done. 

Dr. Short, Bishop of St. Asaph, while resident at Bishop's 


Court, lifid in his garden several large beds of thyme, and in 
passing them with his friends he used to say, in allusion to tlie 
Mankish sin, " You see I have time enough." 

Clough na Kielagh ayns corneil'd thy me. 

Tliat is, may a stone of the church be found in thy dwelling.* 
This would be considered as one of the greatest misfortunes 
that could befall a family. The Manks, like many other 
people, have a particular veneration for anything that has been 
dedicated to the service of the church, and have a superstitious 
feeling in removing or applying them to their own use. 

[When the Manx wished to pronounce a special curse upon 
a man, they used the imprecation, '• Clagh ny Killagh ayns 
Kione dy hie Vovar ;" literally, " May a stone of the church be 
in the head of thy house a great one/' i.e., " May thy punishment 
be that of the man who commits sacrilege." — Cummings, The 
Great .Stanley, p. 248. Camden gives it thus : " They have 
generally hated sacrilege to such a degree, that they do not 
think a man can wish a greater curse to a family than in these 
words : " Clogh ny Killagh ayns Corneil dty Hie Moar," i.e., 
" May a stone of the church be found in the corner of thy 
dwelling-house." — Gihsoii's ed. col. 1446. — J. H.] 

Then there are yet Men in the Isle of Man. 

Castle Rushen has long been famous for its subterranean 
passages, and there are individuals amongst the islanders who 
still firmly believe that they lead to a beautiful country 
underground, inhabited by giants. Amongst the many tales 
they relate is one, that, several attempts being made to explore 
the passages, which in general proved unsuccessful, a num.- 
bcr of daring fellows agreed to attempt the enterprise in com- 

* A Manks form of cursing. — Ecclesiohgical Notes on the Isle of 
Man, p. 46. 


pany. Having armed themselves with staves, etc., etc , and 
procuring torches, tliey descended. After proceeding a little 
way, they found an old man, of great size, with a long beard, 
and blind, sitting on a rock as if fixed there. He, hearing them 
approach, enquired of them as to the state of the island, and at 
last asked one to put forth his hand, on which one of them gave 
him a ploughshare which he had, wheli the old giant squeezed 
the iron together with the greatest ease, exclaiming at the same 
time : " Then there are yet men in the Isle of Man." 

The same tradition under varied forms prevails in Scotland, 
Denmark, France, etc. See the story of Frederick Barbarossa 
sleeping on his throne in the Castle of KyfFhausen, in Quarterly 
Review, March, 1820. 

Epigram on the Arms op Man. 

' Reader, thou'st seen a falling cat 
Lights always on his feet so pat ; 
A shuttlecock will still descend, 
Meeting the ground with nether end ; 
The persevering Manksman's thus 
A shuttlecock or pauvre puss. 
However through the world he's tost, — 
However disappointed, crost, — 
Eeverses, losses, Fortune's frown, 
No chance or change can keep him down. 
Upset him anyway you will, 
Upon his legs you find him still : 
For ever active, brisk, and spunky, 
Stabit jeceris quocunque. 

He is like a Manks Cat, he leaves nought ahint him 

BUT his tail. 

See note on saying, '' Like a Manks Cat, liasn^t a tail to 


The only animal peculiar to the island is the tailless cat, 
called in Manks "stubbin," in English " rumpy." Professor 
Forbes states it to be " an accidental variety of the common 
species, Felis catus, frequently showing no traces of the caudal 
vertebra, and in others a mere rudimental substitute." The 
witty author of A Siv Days^ Tour in the Isle of Man, p. 152, 
says : " But as they intermarry with the more favoured 
English breeds, they have a quarter tail, half tail, tln:ee- 
quarters of a tail, and full tail, according to some scale of 
deserts with which I am unacquainted." Some affirm that this 
is the genuine aboriginal cat of the island ; and there is a tradi- 
tion that the first stubbin or rumpy cat seen in the island was 
cast ashore from a foreign vessel wrecked on the rocks at 
Spanish Head, shortly after the creation of the world ! 

These cats are considered good mousers, and many are 
annually carried out of the island as curiosities by visitors who 
frequent it 

[Dr. Geo. Wilson calls it " the absurd cat without a tail," 
a great favourite of his. Mem., p. 20.] 

Blue, the Makksman's Livery. 

This saying has, I suppose, originated in the fact that the 
prevailing colour of the dress of the Manks people is blue. 

A Manksman's Arms are three Legs. 

Spoken by way of pun on the armorial bearings of the Isle of 

Galloping the White Mare. 

Said of servants who run away from their places before the 
expiration of their servitude. Female servants hire at Latter- 
mas, 28th March, and males at Michaelmas, 29th September, 
for twelve months. The old privilege of yarding, given by 


ancient cnstojiary law to the Lords, Deemsters, and Chief 
Officers in the island, according to their degree, of compelling 
certain persons of either snx into their service, at a trifling fee 
fixed by law, has now and very properly fallen into disuse. 

On Bishop Hildesley. 

Jf to paint folly, till her friends despise, 
And virtue, till her foes would fain be wise ; 
If angel sweetness — if a God-like mind, 
That melts with Jesus over all mankind : 
If this can form a bishop — and it can, 
Tho' lawn were wanting, Hildesley 's the man. 

When Bishop Hildesley was at Scarborough, in 1764, the 
above verses were stuck up in the Spa-room, and were taken 
down by him,* and after his deatli found among his papers, with 
these words written underneath by the Bishop : " From vain 
glory in human applause, Deus me liberat et conservat." 
Bishop Hildesley was instrumental in the translation of the 
Scriptures into the Manks language and originated Sunday 
schools in the island. He died 7th December, 1772. 

Be shibber oie innid vees olty volg lane, 
My jig laa caisht yon traaste son shen. 

Translation — 

On Shrove Tuesday night, though thy supper be fat, 
Before Easter-day thou may'st fast for that. 

On Shrove Tuesday it is customary to have solla-ghyn or 
crowdy for dinner instead of breakfast, as at other times ; and 
for supper, fleshmeat with a large pudding and pancakes. Into 

• " By his sister," — Quigley's Guide to the Isle of Man, p. 2o, 


the latter are thrown a ring and a piece of silver money, with 
which the candidates for matrimony try their fortune. It is 
quite a Manks merrymaking ; hence the proverb. 

There has not been a merry World since the 
Phynnodderee lost his ground. 

This useful little old gentleman with his hairy coat was a 
fallen fairy wlio was banished from his brethren in Fairy-land 
for having paid his addresses to a pretty Manks maid, and 
deserting the fairy court during the harvest moon to dance 
with his earthly love in the merry Glen of Rushen. He is 
doomed to remain in the isle till the end of time ; and many are 
the stories related by the Manks peasantry of his prodigious 
strength. Having performed one of his prodigious feats, a 
gentleman wishing to recompense him caused a few articles of 
clothing to be laid down for him in his nsual haunts ; when on 
perceiving them, he lifted them up one by one, saying : — 

Cap for the Head ; alas ! poor Head : 
Coat for the Back ; alas ! poor Back : 
Breeches for the Breech ; alas ! poor Breech : 
If those be all thine, thine cannot be 
The merry Glen of Rushen. 

Having said so he departed^ and has never been heard of 

His resemblance was that of the Lubber Fiend of Milton. 

The Rhyme of the Scottish Brownie, when he was rewarded 
with a coat and sark, ran thus : — 

Gie Brownie coat, gie Brownie sark, 
Ye's get nae mair o' Brownie's wark. 


Tluit of the Brownie of Ettrick Forest was — 
Farewell to bonny Bodsbeck. 

So also that of the Cauld Lad of Hilton Castle, in the 
Bishopric of Durham, ran in a similar rhvming strain, when 
he was similarly rewarded with a brand new cloak and hood — 

Here's a Cloak and there's a Hood, 

The Cauld Lad o' Hilton will do na niair good. 

The luck of the house is said to depart for ever with the 
oiFended Brownie ! 

[Manks Fairies. 

They are much the same as their neighbours on the mainland. 
They go into mills at night and grind stolen corn ; they steal 
milk from the cattle ; they live in green mounds ; in short, they 
are like little mortals invested with supernatural power, thus : 
There was a man lived not long ago near Port Quin who had a 
Lhiannan Shee. " He was not like other people, but he had a 
fairy sweetheart ; but he noticed her, and they do not like being 
noticed, the fairies, and so he lost his mind. Well, he was quite 
quiet like other people, but at night he slept in the barn, and 
they used to hear him talking to his sweetheart, scolding her 
sometimes, but if any one made a noise he would be quiet at 
once." The man went mad ; but his madness took the form of 
the popular belief, and that again attributed his madness to the 
fairy mistress. Campbell's West Highland Tales, ii., p. 70.] 

Fairies and Churches. 

There is a mythical tale of church building in the Isle of Man 
told in connection with that of St. Trinion's {i.e. St. Ninian), and 


is mentioned by Grose in his Antiquities. He also gives a draw- 
ing of the church, which shows it much in the same state in which 
it appears at this moment of time (1851), for no one will touch a 
stone of it. Tradition relates that the present ruinous state of 
the building was owing to the malice of some unlucky demons, 
who, for want of better employment, amused themselves with 
throwing off the roof, which frolic they so often repeated that 
the prosecution of the building was abandoned. 

Manks Bye-names. 

The following general bye-names occur in the Isle of Man : — 
The Dalby folks are called Gobbocks, from their partiality to 
that fish. The Castleton youths are generally styled Dullish, 
which in Manks patois is equivalent to a boaster. And each 
and all in their turn retort upon the Peel gents by calling them 
Vinegar Hill Boys, also Skaddon or Haddock Boys. 

[Wren-hunting in the Isle of Man. 

" Manx herring-fishers dare not go to sea without a wren, 
taken dead with them, for fear of disasters and storms. Their 
traditioii is of a ' sea-spirit ' that haunted the ' herring-tack,' 
attended always by storms, and at last it assumed the figure of 
a wren and flew away. So they think when they have a dead 
wren with them all is snug. The poor bird has a sad life of it 
in that singular island ; when one is seen at any time, scores of 
Manxmen start and hunt it down." — Mactaggart's Gallovidian 
Encyclopcedia, p. 157. Of wren-hunting in Ireland, and in 
France near Marseilles, there is an account in Brand's Pop. 
Ant.y iii., pp. 103-4.] 

[Li Cregeen's Manks Dictionary, published by Mary Quiggin, 


1835, is this Manks proverb: ''■' Ny three geayghyn o' feaysey 
dennee Fion M'Cooil 

Geay hennen, as geay huill, 
As geay fo my shiauilL" 

Which I understand to mean — 

The three coldest winds that came to Fion M'Cooil, 
Wind from a (haw, wind from a hole. 
And wind from under tlie sails. 
Campbell's Pop. Tales of West Highlands, Introd. xli.J 



The Westmoreland Hercules. 

Eicliard Gilpin Avas infeofFed, in the reign of King John, in 
the lordship of Kentmire Hall, by the Baron of Kendal, for 
his singular service and deserts, both in peace and war. It is 
told of this Westmoreland worthy that he slew a Avild boar, 
that, raging in the mountains adjoining, much endamaged the 
country people, whence it is that the Gilpins in their coat-arms 
give the boar. 

" I confess this story soundeth something Romanza-like. 
However, I believe it, partly because so reverend a pen (Bishop 
Carleton) hath recorded it, and because the people in these 
parts need not to feign foes in their fancy Bears, Boars, and 
Wild Beasts, who in that age had real enemies, the neighbouring 
Scots, to encounter.^' — Fuller. 

Pray for the soul of Thomas Parr, Knight, 
, Who was Squire of the Body to King Henery the Eight. 

The above, or similar verses, were formerly in a beautiful 
window of painted glass in Parr's Aisle, in Kendal church, and 
were demolished by the Cromwellian soldiers. 


Trotttbeck has Three Hundred Bulls, Three Hundred 
Constables, and Three Hundred Bridges. 

A pretty fair number of each truly, for a small district, in 
so very small a county ! The township and chapelry of 
Troutbeck, in the parish of Windermere, is divided into three 
divisions called Imndreds,* each of which has six hundred 
cattle-gaits, of two acres each, on the extensive common, and 
each hundred has a common bull, constable, and bridge. 
From these three incidents arose the above witty and singular 

Hugh Bird, the Troutbeck giant, was, according to the tales 
of tradition, a man of wonderful strength and appetite. At the 
building of Kentmere Hall he lifted a beam which ten men in 
vain tried to move, On occasion of Lord Dacre sending him 
with a message to the king, he astonished the royal household 
by eating up a whole sheep to his dinner, having previously 
ordered it to be cooked for him, under the name of " the 
sunny side of a wedder." 

Varia : 

Let Titer Pendragon do what he can. 
The River Eden will run as he ran. 

Let Pendragon do what he can, 
Eden will run where Eden ran. 

The river Eden runs at no great distance on the east side of 
Pendragon Castle, near Kirkby Stephen. On the other side of 
this castle are great trenches, which look as if Uter Pendragon,f 

* Ten families make a tything ; ten tythings make a hundred. 

f Pen — this word simply means anything great or exalted. 
Dragon — a governor or dictator of the ancient British period, com- 
mon in the north of England and south of Scotland. 


the founder, had intended to draw the waters into them, and 
80 encompass it with a moat. But the attempt proved in- 
effectual, and gave occasion to the above extremely ancient 
rhyme still popular with the inhabitants of this county. A 
gentleman of the name of Longstaffe (a native of the county), 
who made a tour in the year 1766, and left a MS. account 
thereof gives us the following variorum reading : — 

Let sly Pendragon do all he can, 
Old Eden will run where first he ran. 

As OLD AS Knock Cross. 

A Westmoreland comparison, bespeaking extreme antiquity. 
Parallel with the above is that of Canny Newcastle, to wit — 
is"asawde [old] as Pandon Yatts [gates]." Knock, anciently 
Knock-Shalock, is a pretty good village, in the parish of Long- 
marton, [There is another Knock's Cross to which the saying is 
also applied on the Roman wall near Bowness in Cumberland. 
Knock's Cross is a barrow-like object close by the sea shore. — 
Bruce's Wallet-Book of the Roman Wall, p. 2 15. J 

Here the King Westmer, 
Slew the King Kothinger. 

In Tlie Complaint of Scotland, an ancient romance is men- 
tioned, under the title of " How the King of Estmureland 
married the king's daughter of Westmureland '^ [" quhou the 
kyng of est mure land mareit the kyngis dochtir of vest mure 
land"]. Again in the Scots Ballad of Fause Foodrage men- 
tion is made in the first verse of King Easter and King Wester, 
who were probably petty kings or governors of Northumber- 
land and Westmoreland. But it is again supposed the Est- 
mureland and Westmureland can have no relation to North- 


umberland and Westmoreland, as the former was never called 
Eastmoreland, nor was there ever a king of Westmore- 
land, unless we credit the authority of the above rhymes, cited 
by Usher, in his Antiquities of the British Churches, p. 303, 
wherein that learned prelate says that jNIarius, a petty king of 
the Britons (in the 1st and 2nd century), defeated Roderick, 
the Eothinger of the rhyme, a Pictish general from Scythia, 
upon the mountains now called Stanemoor ; in memory whereof 
Eei, Eere, or Roy Cross was erected ; and from him that part 
of the kingdom was called West-maria, or Marius land. 

In Kyng Horn are Eastnesse and Westnesse, which Sir 
Walter Scott says still exist in Yorkshire. In the French 
original Westia is said to be the old name of Hirland or Ireland ; 
and, if so, Eastmureland must be England. 

Kendal Green. 

This colour, which has grown into a proverb, was a favorito 
and a fashionable one in the 16th century. It was a kind of 
foresters' green. Shakespeare, in his play of Henry TV. 
makes Falstaff say : " But as the devil would have it three 
misbegotton knaves in Kendal green came up at my back and 
let drive at me." [Kendal green is the livery colour of ihe 
Earl of Home, and also the favourite colour of Robin Hood and 
his followers.] 

Eighty-eight wor Kirby feight ; 

When niver a man was slain ; 
They yett their meat, an' drank their drink, 

An' sae com.e merrily lioani again. 

After the abdication of James II. in the year 1688, a rumour 
was spread in the North of England, that the abdicated 
monarch was lying off the Yorkshire coast, ready to make 


a descent, with a numerous army from France, in hopes of 
regaining his lost throne. This report gave the Lord Lieutenant 
of Westmoreland an opportunity of showing his own and the 
people's attachment to the new order of things. He accordingly 
called out the posse comitatus, comprising all the able-bodied 
men from 16 to 60 years of age. The order was obeyed with 
alacrity, and the inhabitants met armed in a field called Miller's 
Close near Kendal, from whence they marched to Kirkby 
Lonsdale, and so " Com merrily hoam again." This historical 
fact explains the meaning of the abore popular rhyme, which 
at this day is not generally understood. 

Let men and sliools* do what they may, 
The Lowdore will wash Brougham away. 

The river Lowdore, when swollen by winter floods, sweeps 
with such impetuosity against the lowlands in the Brougham 
estate, that the county people foretell its ultimate destruction in 
the above old rhyming couplet. 

The Lowdore, or Loder, falls into the Eimont, near Penrith, 
on the borders of Cumberland. Leland says, "At Burgham, 
is an old castle that the common people say doth sink." 

Auld John Lowther, of Lowtber ; 

If ye had twea kine, 
He wad let ye keep nowther : 

T' devil of owther ! 

Perhaps this rhyming saying may refer to Sir John Lowther, 
who in the year 1666 obtained a grant of all the ungranted 
lands, within the district of Whitehaven, in order to prevent all 
opposition to his intended series of operations in the neighbour- 
hood of that town for the working of his coal mines, and the 
transit of shipping of the produce. Li the year 1668, he 

* Shools, i.e. shovels. 


obtained a further accession of property by the gift of the whole 
sea-coast for two miles northward, between higli and low water- 

It is easy to imagine that these extensive gifts and grants 
would cause great dissatisfaction, and be the means no doubt of 
ousting numbers of poor families who, together with their 
ancestors, had doubtless occupied the lands (of which they 
were thus dispossessed) for centuries — without perhaps the 
payment of the most trifling sum in the form of rent. 

KoBiN THE Devil. 

During the civil wars, two of the family of Phillipson, a 
family of some note in this county, an elder and a younger 
brother served the king. The former, who was proprietor of an 
island in Windermere Lake, commanded a regiment ; the latter 
was a major. The major, whose name was Robert, was a 
man of great spirit and enterprise, and for his many feats of 
bravery had obtained among the Oliverians of those parts the 
appellation of Robert the Devil. After the war had subsided 
and the direful effects of public opposition had ceased, revenge 
and private malice long kept alive the animosities of indi- 
viduals. Colonel Briggs, a steady friend to usurpation, resided 
at this time at Kendal ; and under the double character 
of a leading magistrate and an active commander, held the 
country in awe. This person, having heard that Major 
Phillipson was at his brother's house on the island, resolved if 
possible to seize and punish a man who had made himself 
so particularly obnoxious to his party. With this view he 
mustered a party which he thought sufficient, and went him- 
self on the enterprize. How it was conducted my authority 
does not inform me; whether he got together the navigation 
of the lake, and blockaded the place by sea, or whether ho 
landed and carried on his approaches in form. Neither do we 



learn the strength of the garrison within, nor the works with- 
out ; though every gentleman's house was, at that time, in some 
degree a fortress. All that we learn is that Major Phillipson 
endured a siege of eight days with great gallantry ; till his 
brother, the colonel, hearing of his distress, raised a party and 
relieved him. 

It was now the major's turn to make reprisals. He put 

himself, therefore, at the head of a little troop of horse and 

rode to Kendal. Here, being informed that Colonel Briggs 

was at prayers (for it was on a Sunday morning), he stationed 

his men properly in the avenues, and, himself armed, rode 

directly into the church. It probably was not a regular church, 

but some large place of meeting. It is said he intended to 

seize the colonel and carry him off ; but as this seems totally 

impracticable, it is rather probable that he intended to kill him 

on the spot, and in the midst of the confusion to escape. 

Whatever his intentions were they were frustrated, for Briggs 

happened to be elsewhere. The congregation, as might be 

expected, was thrown into great confusion on seeing an armed 

man on horseback make his appearance among them, and the 

major, taking advantage of their astonishment, turned his horse 

round and rode quietly out. But, an alarm being given, he 

was presently assaulted as he left the assembly, and being 

seized, had his girths cut and he was unhorsed. At this 

instant his party made a furious attack on his assailants, and 

the major killed with his own hand the man who had seized 

him, clapped the saddle, ungirthed as it was, upon his horse, 

and vaulting into it rode off at full speed tlurough the streets of 

Kendal, calling on his men to follow him ; and he with his 

whole party made a safe retreat to his asylum on the lake. 

The action marked the man. Many knew him, and they who 

did not, knew well from the exploit, that it could be no one but 

Robin the Devil. 



Here I, Thomas Wharton, do lie, 

With Lucifer Tinder my head, 
And Nelly, my wife, hard by, 

And Nancy as cold as lead. 
Oh ! how can I speak without dread ! 

Who could my sad fortune abide, 
With one devil under my head 

And another laid close by my side. 

The above safciricul epitapli was written on Thomas, Lord 
Wharton, who, with his two wives, lies buried in the Wharton 
aisle, or chapel, in the chancel of Kirkby Stephen church. 
The genuine epitaph runs thus: — 

^' 1, Thomas Wharton, lie here ; also my wives, Eleanor on 
the one side, and Ann on the other. ! earth take back thy 
own, our flesh and bones. ! bountiful God, retake these our 
souls to heaven. The Wharton family gave me birth, and my 
right hand victories against the Scots. Honour to my wife 
Eleanor, whom the family of Stapleton gave me, and made me 
father of six children. Death snatched two from me in their 
infancy, two in youthful years, the remaining two bear the 
names of my ancestors. My second wife, Ann, is of the 
illustrious family of Shrewsbury." 

The witty rhymester's idea of Lucifer under the head of his 
lordship is supposed to have arisen from the horrid image of a 
bull's head which is displayed upon the said tomb, and which 
forms a portion of the arms of the once noble family of 

I pray God to shorten 

The days of Lord Wharton, 
And put his son up in his place. 

He'll drink and he'll whore, 

And ten thousand things more. 
With as good a fanatical face. 

When the second Lord Wharton was a youth, he was 


remarkable for his dissolute life ; his father, on the contrary, 
was a rigid Presbyterian. At an entertainment given by the 
old lord to a number of friends the young one was desired to 
say grace, when, turning up the whites of his eyes, he in a 
sanctified tone repeated the above verses. The old nobleman, 
who, being very deaf, heard not one word of this filial prayer, 
very devoutly closed it with, " Amen, I pray God ! " 

Kii'by Bells and Brough Rtots, 
Musgrave Pans, and Warcop Pots. 

A rhyming comparison on the relative merits of these four 
neighbouring sets of church bells. Brough is the only one that 
requires any elucidation. Of these bells there is a tradition that, 
" long and many years ago," a gentleman of the name of 
Brunskill, resident upon the western extremity of " Stane- 
more's wintry waste," sold a whole herd of nolt, and with the 
proceeds purchased a set of bells for the church of his native 
parish ; therefore without any great stretch of imagination, the 
rhymester is fully justified in calling those individual bells, 
" Brough Stots." 

The bells at Kirby Stephen, four in number, are generally 
allowed to be of very superior tone. Those of the two other 
places will be found pretty true to the rhyme. 

The following is another version of the story about the Brough 

" In the church are four excellent bells, by much the largest 
in the county, except the great bell at Kirkby There. Concern- 
ing these bells at Brough, there is a tradition that they were 
given by one Brunskill, who lived upon Stanemore, in the 
remotest part of the parish and had a great many cattle. One 
time it happened that his bull fell a bellowing, which in the 
dialect of the country is called cruning (this being the country 
word to denote that vociferation) whereupon he said to one of 


his neiglibours, * Hearest tliou how loud this bull crunes ? If 
these cattle should all crune together, might they not be heard 
from Brough hither ? ' He answered ' Yea/ ' Well, then,' 
says Brunskill, ' I'll make them all crune together.' And he 
sold them all, and with the 'price thereof he bought the said 
bells (or perhaps he might get the old bells new cast and made 
larger). There is a monument in the church in the south wall, 
between the highest and second windows, under which it is said 
the said Brunskill was the last that was interred." — Hone's 
Table Booh, i. col. 817. 

There's Beswiok's Kye rowting. 

In the Chronicles of Westmoreland^ published by a humble 
bard, we find that " one Beswick, a lifter of cattle, was return- 
ing over Brough Fells with some kye he had stolen " during 
the good old times when meum and tuum were totally unknown 
to the bold Border reivers, and on their making a great rowting 
{i.e. bellowing) he promised in his heart to make their voices 
heard over hill and dale for many a long year, that folks should 
remember Beswick's raid. He kept his vow, and transformed 
the kye into a fine set of bells^ which adorn the steeple of 
Brough Church, and when the country people hear Brough 
bells ringing they exclaim, " There's Beswick's kye rowting." 
Sheldon's Minst Eng. Bord., p. 237. 

Whether the " humble bard," Mr. Sheldon, or the printer is 
in error as to the reiver's surname, I cannot say, but the current 
tradition of the neighbourhood gives the '' honour and credit " 
to master Brunskill as related in the previous illustration, A 
highly respectable local family of this (the latter) name only 
became extinct on the spear side some 70 or 80 years ago, 
who, I hesitate not to assert, were descended from the above 
individual of belj-ringing and kye-rowting celebrity. 


I liave been bullied by an usurper, and I have been neglected by a 
court ; but I will not be dictated to by a subject. Your man shan't 

Lady Ann Clifford, Countess Dowager of Pembroke, Dorset, 
and Montgomery; Baroness Clifford, Westmoreland, and 
Vesey ; High SheriflFess by inheritance of the county of West- 
moreland, and lady of the Honour of Skipton in Craven, is 
distinguished among women for her learning, unbounded 
generosity and high spirit. An instance of the last she nobly 
displayed, to Sir Joseph Williamson, Secretary of State to 
Charles the Second, who wished to force a member into Par- 
liament for her borough of Appleby. Her majestic reply to 
his discourteous command was, " I have been bullied by," 
etc. Neither did he ! [She died in 1676.] 

Hercules killed Hart-a-greese, 
And Hart-a-greese killed Hercules. 

When Edward Baliol, King of Scotland, visited Robert de 
Clifford, in 1333, it is said they ran a stag by a single dog, not 
a greyhound, but a staunch buckhound, out of Whinfield Park 
to Redkirk, in Scotland, a distance of 60 miles, and back again 
to the same place, where being both spent the siag, exerting his 
last powers, leaped over the park pales, but fell dead upon the 
ground ; the hound, attempting the same leap, fell back and 
died on the contrary side. In memory of this (almost) impro- 
bable circumstance, the heads of the stag and dog were nailed 
upon a hawthorn tree in Whinfield Park, and although the tree 
has disappeared for ages, the locality is still known by the name 
of Harts-horn Tree. 

" Mr. Lancelot Morehouse (Westmoreland) told me a story 
that somewhere in that north country, upon an oke, were fixt 
a stagges horn, which in processe of time grew into the oke ; 


the oke liad inclosed the roote of them ; but he had seen the 
stumps which weather and time had curtailed. The tradition 
was, that a greyhound had coursed the staprge a matter of 30 
miles, and at this place the stagge and greyhound fell down 
both dead, and in a plate of lead was writ thus : 

Here Hercules kill'd Hart-of-grease, 
And Hart-of-grease kill'd Hercules." 

An,hreij in MSS., 144 vo. and 145 vo. 

Another author says : " The horns were nailed upon a neigh- 
bouring oak, and grew as it were naturally in the tree, till the 
army broke one in 1648 ; the other was broken down in 1658. 
The tree is gone, but the root is not entirely obliterated." — 
Beauties of England and Wales, 1817. 

The dog's name was Hercules, and both he and his equally 
long-winded opponent still live in tradition and the above trite 
couplet. [Hart-leap Well of Wordsworth, five miles from 
Richmond, in Yorkshire, is a somewhat similar story.] 


The following paragraph is extracted from the Carlisle 
Journal, 1837 : " Earl Spencer has been staying at Brougham 
Hall, with Lord Brougham, a few days. On Tuesday the 
noble lords attended divine service at Nine-Churches. The 
noble lord was highly delighted with the scenery surround- 
ing Brougham Hall." 

The parish church of Brougham is pleasantly situated on the 
south bank of the river Eimont, three miles east of Penrith. It 
is dedicated to St. Ninian, and from this circumstance it is 
popularly known by the name of Nine-Kirks or Nine-Churches. 
A foolish tradition, however, exists, that the waters of the 
Eimont or Eamont washed away no fewer than eight churches 
ere the said naughty waters allowed this, the ninth, to stand. 


Curtven's Card, the Knave op Clubs. 

Curwen was a native of AVestmoreland and Archbishop of 
Dublin. In Queen Mary's reign, a commission was sent over 
to Ireland to persecute the Protestants with fire and faggot. 
The bearer of these unchristian-like orders stopt one night at 
Chester, and his host, a true Protestant, having got an inkling 
of the nature of his journey, stole his commission, and in place 
thereof inserted the knave of clubs. Some short time after he 
arrived in Dublin and lost no time in laying his orders before 
the Archbishop and the Privy Council ; Avhen lo ! on opening 
the packet, nothing presented itself but a dirty and worthless 
old card ! He returned with all speed to England for a renewal 
of the orders, but although he made all haste on his second visit 
to Ireland, the Queen's death took place before his arrival, and 
the poor Protestant people were preserved ! 


If rain is stirring it's sure to find its way to Wet-Sleddale. 

Wet-Sleddale, a narrow dale in the parish of Shap, environed 
by lofty fells and moorlands. It has not its name without 
sufficient reason. 

Stenlcreth Mill, Wild Boar Fell, and Kissing Hill, 
Kaber Rigg, Sower Pow, and Coffin Brigg. 

A curious topographical couplet, formed of the genuine names 


of six places in the immediate neighbourhood of Kirkby 

High Eookby, 

Low Eookby, 

And Eookby-S earth : 


And Ladford, 

And bonny Coat -Garth, 

A rather euphonious classification of the names of six farm- 
steads, also in the neighbourhood of Kirkby Stephen. 

The Helm is up. 

In the mountainous parts of this county, towards the N.W., 
a very remarkable phenomenon frequently appears, called the 
Helm-wind. A rolling cloud, sometimes for three or four days 
together, hovers over the mountain tops, the sky being clear in 
other parts. When the cloud appears the country people say 
the Helm is up. The word helm is of Saxon origin, and pro- 
perly signifies a covering for the head. This helm is not dis- 
persed or blown away by the wind, but continues its station till 
a violent hurricane comes roaring down the mountain, ready to 
tear all before it. Then, on a sudden, ensues a profound calm ; 
and then again, gradually the cloud gathers on the mountain, 
and the tempest alternately ensues. This tempest, however, 
seldom extends into the country beyond a mile or two from the 
bottom of the mountain. The helm-wind is common to Cum- 
berland as well as Westmoreland. 

It is also spoken of a person in a furious passion. 


An extremely rural and wild district in Westmoreland 
bordering upon a river of the same name. 


When Knipe-Scar gets a hood, 
Suckworth may expect a flood. 

The hamlet of Knipe is in the parish of Bampton. Sackworth 
is the name of a field in the same parish. 


1. The Church hes low, 

And the Castle stands high ; 
'Tis a very bonny place, 
And the Eden runs by. 

Note.—" Though "Westmoreland hath much of Eden running 
through it, it yet hath little of delight therein." — Fuller. 

2. Who has any land in Appleby ? 

The above query is generally put to the person at whose door 
the bottle stands, or who does not circulate it in due time. 

" How lies the land ? " " How stands the reckoning ? " 


Excerpit out of an oulde balade in print : — 

There be many foxes 

That goe on two legges, 
That steal greater matters 

Than cocks, hennes, and egges ; 

To catch many gulls 

In sheepos clothing they goe, 
They might be destroy'd, 

But I know what I know. 

In the county of Durham we can also boast of a right 
knowing one of this name, viz., Bishop Fox, of whom Lord 


Bacon observes that he was *' a wise man, and one that could 
see through the present to the future." 

Egdale for sour milk, 

Eosegill for whey ; 
Banton for a bonny lass, 

At ony time o' day. 

Egdale and Rosegill, or Eossgill, are hamlets in the parish of 

The Kent and Keir, 

Have parted many a good man and his mere (mare). 

The Eiver Can, Ken, or Kent, rises in Kentmere, and after 
passing Kendal, flows southward to the vicinity of Milnthorpe, 
and falls into the ocean in the Bay of Morecambe. At Kents 
Bank resides a guide who conducts travellers over this part of 
the bay. The office of guide has been held by a family of the 
name of Carter during several generations. The original salary 
of £10 a year has been wisely augmented to £20 ; the gratuities 
of travellers, however, help to add materially to the annual 
value of the situation. It is not only the duty of the guide to 
conduct travellers over the dangerous sands and shifting 
channels, but likewise to watch their almost daily changing 
jDositions, etc. A small island called Holme situated at the 
mouth of the Kent, is said to be " sometimes in Lancashire, 
and sometimes ib Westmoreland " owing to the stream, whidi 
divides these counties, occasionally changing its course from the 
east to the west side of this valueless piece of land. (See 
Whitaker's Hibt. of RichmondsJiire,ip. 300.) The Kere or Keir, 
is first mentioned by Leland ; he says, " Half a mile from 
Warton I passed over Keri river, cumming out of the hills 
not far oflF, and then ebbing and flowing." The Kere runs 
through the parish of AVarton in the county of Lancaster. 


In tliis looalit}' are two waterfalls, which make a hideous 
noise ; one at Mihithorpe, the other at Levins, on the liiver 
Ken, about five miles south from Kendal. By these the people 
foretell the weather, for when that at Levins soundeth clear, 
they say it betokeneth fair, and when the clearer sound is at 
Milntliorpe, it showeth approaching rain and mist. 

Stenkrith Mill where the Devil grinds Mustard. 

Stenkrith Bridge and Mill are both within a short distance 
of Kirkby Stephen, and here the River Eden forms several 
foaming cataracts, which fall to a considerable depth amongst 
numerous broken and impending rocks with round water- 
worn holes in them, fi'om one foot to three or four yards in 
diameter, and from one foot to a depth which has never been 
fathomed by mortal eye. The deepest of these is known by the 
name of Cow-Carnell Hole, from a cow belonging to an 
individual of the name of Carnell having had the mishap to fall 
into it. Both above and below the bridge the waters insinuate 
themselves into fissures of the rock, where forming subterraneous 
channels they rush forward with such fury and noise, that the 
country people tell you if you will only apply your ear to the 
rock or ground in such and such places, which they point out, 
you will hear his majesty of the infernal regions grinding 
mustard in his mill ! Some have supposed that the Druids 
selected this awful yawning gulpli of solemn shade and solitude, 
as a place of worship, and perforated many of the holes in the 
rocks to increase its horrors. 

Wild Westmoreland. 

This alliterative characteristic is to be met with in Drayton's 
Foli/olbion, Song 33. 


Epitaph in Kendal Church. 

Here lyotji the body of Mr. Ralph Tirer, late Vicar of Kendal, 
Bachelor of Divinity, vfho died the 4th day of June, 1627. 

London bred mee, Westminster fed mee, 

Cambridge sped mee, My sister wed mee, 

Study taught mee, Living saught mee. 

Learning brought mee, Kendal caught mee, 

Labour pressed mee. Sickness distressed me, 

Death oppressed mee, The Grave possessed mee, 

God first gave mee, Christ did save mee, 

Earth did crave mee, And Heaven would have mee. 

The above epitaph was composed by the worthy vicar him- 
self. This tomb is placed in the choir of the above named 
church, and the inscription is worthy of the reader's perusal 
on account of its quaintness and yet uncommon historical 

Epitaph in Brough Cemetery, Garth. 

Tho : Gabetis, Esq. 

The Wise, The Eloquent, The Jvst. 
Lyes here interred amongst y^ Dust 
Below : Who forty years and more 
Was Sheriffe. Nowe is Heavens store. 
Was fresh and understanding too. 

At 86 as Those That Woo 

When Death w"' Croaked Syth and Glass 
Sett out y*^ Bovnds he shud not Pass. 
Saint like his Sickness. And his Death 
Admir'd by All : his Parteing Breath 
Soe Sweet As Might Perfvme yc Earth. 
Dovbtless y't Spotless Sovle of his 
Is Gone Into Eternal Bliss. 

Obiit 25 die Martii 
Anno salvtis 1694. 
CVerbatim copy, taken 1 March, 1830.) 


Wise as the Westmoreland Jury, who found a man guilty of 
Manslaughter who was tried for stealing a Grindstone ! 

This, if true, lias its parallel in a verdict returned, not many- 
years ago, in the Court at Durham, where the jury brought in 
a verdict of "justifiable homicide " against a prisoner who was 
tried for a common assault. This monstrous verdict gave the 
poor fellow a legal acquittal. This is an absolute and positive 
fact, and the writer begs leave to add, that he had the honour (?) 
to be personally acquainted with more than one of the twelve 
learned jurors ! ! 

A Kendal Stockinger. 

Any littlQ thick-set bossy fellow is so called. The following 
illustrative dialogue once upon a time occurred at Barnardcastle 
in the Bishopric : — 

Q. What does purdy mean ! 

A. A little throssan up thing like a Jack at Warts. 

Q. What's that? 
A. Something like a lime burner. 
Q. What is a lime burner ? 
A. Oh ! nobbifc a Kendal Stockener. 
Q. What is that ? 
A. A little thick-set fellow. 
See Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, vol. ii., p. 83. 

The Lowthers buy, but never sell ; 

The family of Lowther of Lowther Castell. 

This opulent family possesses immense landed property in the 
counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland. The whole of these 
manors and estates have been acquired peu et peu, partly by 
purchase and " partly by other means," as the West Countrie 
folks give you leave to infer. Their invariable rule has been, 


from a very early age, never to sell, always to buy ; and being 
at all times lucky in their purchases, they have raised themselves 
to what they now arc, one of the richest and most powerful and 
honourable families in the north of England. 

The Lucky- Lowthers. 

A plain, truth-telling old proverb says, '' 'Tis better to be 
born lucky than rich," but the family of Lowther have had the 
double blessing of being born both rich and lucky ! 

As Great a Thief as B . . P , who stole the bolt off 

HIS ow\ back-door. 

This saying, strange as it may appear, had its origin in an 
absolute fact. Although the party alluded to was a person of 
independent means, yet still he was unfortunately seized with 
a mania, which prevented the true distinction of meum and 
tuum to a most notorious extent. The bolt was on the door of 
the house of one of his farm-tenants, and watching his oppor- 
tunity he stole it to place it on the door of one of the out- 
buildings in his own occupation, thus leaving his tenant to 
barricade the door of his manse as best he could, it being left 
not only boltless but lockless also. 

Stowgill, tweea miles ayont t'world's end. 

Stowgill is a farmstead on Stanemore, in the parish of 

Door-head Inscription. 

Thomas Sandford, Esquyr, 
For thys paid meat and hyr. 
The yeare of our Savioure, 
Fifteen hundrethe seventy-foure. 

The above quaint yet valuable inscription appears over the 


gate of Askham Hull, near Penrith. The manor of Askham 
■was possessed by tlie above family from the reign of Edward 
III. till 1724. It is an oblong turretcd building, and was 
re-edified or greatly enlarged in 1574, at which time the 
written stone was inserted in the place it yet occupies. 

The old manor-house is now converted into the rectory-house 
of Lowther parish. 

The Orton Boggle, a Ballad. 

Time—Blackell Murry Neet. 

Wey ! Gwordie lad has te been up to Worton, 

T' see the queer tricks that's at Cowper House dnin ? 
Fwolk say that tlie gwhost of an a^Yde witchcraft doctor, 

Turns aw wrong seyde up ev'ry day about nuin. 
A carvin'-knife jamp at a parson when pray in', 

He up and mead off leyke the shot of a gun. 
His ATalkin'-stick lap boldly out o' the corner, 

And joined by his hat quickly efter him spun. 

The cistern began to rwoar out leyke a Kanter, 

The clock knock'd the great rammin' keale-pot about, 
The snap-teabels clanked off a Westmoreland whornpipe, 

An' t' brush gev the kettle a bang on the spout. 
The ^Yarmin'-pan ran ravin' mad to t' pump-trough. 

The pvvokers hopp'd lishly about on the chairs, 
T' awde wife's Sunday hat went leyke leetnin' up t' chimley. 

An' t' coppy-stuil jamp leyke a cat up the stairs. 

The awde heir-lume kirn walk'd t' et' haw quite compos'dly. 

And danc'd " Cross the Buckle" and " Leatherdy Patch," 
An' t' awde kitchen fender waltzed round like a madman, 

Then lap wi' the fire-showl reet through the thatch. 
Twea bacon-flicks fell wi' a clack on the flooriu'. 

And roll'd roun' the house leyke ttvea blin' drunken men ; 
Then t' cwolly-dog crap anunder the ass-grate. 

Ant' sairy tom-cat whe'a ncabody's seen sen. 



The cafiF-beds com rowllin' down stairs all together, 

Ant' awd carv'd yek wardrobe fell flatt on the fluir ; 
Young Jwohn's hairy trunk flew reet into the dairy, 

And aw the milk vessels bang'd out at the duir. 
The worn-out cheese-press was dung ower wi' a bowster, 

The seape-dish rush'd out o' the house in a crack, 
A wood-box threw knives leyke an Indian juggler. 

Ant' dishes and pleates danc'd leyke mad i' th' rack. 

Big piles through the rufe in com droppin' like hailstones, 

And brattles leyke thunder Avere frequently heard ; 
Till in drop't frae Pearith sley Scott, Slee and Eayson, 

When t' " Awde wborny Gentleman " nivver yence stirred. 
The truth sune crap out, 'twas but witchcraft pretensions. 

The servant lass tell't how the story was raised, 
The mistress sune cut down the field leyke a racer, 

For leykest of ought, just a woman gaane craz'd. 

Now ! ye whea put faith in sick stwories o' witchcraft, 

Leuk back to the reign o' King What's-his-neam, 
When deeth was the end of ow seek leyke professors, 

An' mony breet folk t' the gallows were ta'en. 
Ye biggots o' Worton, an' other bit hamlets. 

Be shammed o' yoursells, I think it full teyme ; 
For whea wad hae tliowt t' hear tell o' seek doin's, 

In the year eighteen hundred and forty and nine. 



Percy Rhymes, etc. 

1. Harry Hotspur — tlie Fiery Hotspur — Hotspur Mars— the 
Hotspur of the North. [Hetspur, Hector Boethius.'] 

A son who is the thtme of honour's tongue. 

Play of He7i. IV. 

Henrv, Lord Percy, born 20 May, 1363 or 1364, was the 
eldest son of Henry, first earl of Northumberland. At an 
early age he displayed those martial talents which have im- 
mortalised his name in history as one of England's greatest 
chieftains. At the coronation of Richard 11. he was knighted. 
At the age of fourteen he spread his banner at the siege of 
Berwick, " doing so valiantlie that he deserved singular com- 
mendation." His furious and undaunted zeal against the 
enemies of his country obtained for him the name of Hotspur. 
Of this name he was no little proud, and both friend and enemy 
adopted it as his sirname. In 1386 he was made Governor of 
Berwick, and Warden of the Marches towards Scotland. In 
1388 he encountered the Scottish forces at Otterburne, where 



he slew Earl Douglas with his own hand. In the reign of 
Henry IV. he was appointed sheriff of Northumberland. The 
heroic Hotspur, whose mother was a Neville of Raby Castle, 
fell in the battle of Shrewsbury, 21st July, 1403. 

Holinshed, in his Chronicles of Ireland , pp. 97, 101, uses the 
expression " an headlong Hotspur." 

2. You're none of the Hotspurs. 

Made use of when accusing a noisy braggadocio, be he soldier 
or civilian, of cowardice. 

3. The Percys' profit was the Lucys' loss. 

This doubly alliterative saying is alluded to by Master Fuller 
in his Worthies of England. It is likewise noticed in the 
Metrical Chronicle of the Family of Percy ^ Earls of Northumher- 
la?id, by William Peeris, clerke and priest, and secretary to 
Henry Y., Earl of Northumberland, circa 1500. 

Then afterwards Margaret the P Nevells daughter his second wife 

married hee 
by whom hee had issue three sones whose names bee 
henry the eight, ralph the second, and the third thomas. 
margret dyed and after her as fortuned the case 
hee married maud countesse of anguesh his therd wife 
whicli mother was to elizabeth his first wife 
and by the said maude forthwithall 
the lord lucy lands by her guift came to him all. 
Soe this noble man if yee wisely regard 
had faire lands and possessions greate 

first by elizabeth the daughter, and by maude her mother afterwards, 
of the wch noe lawe may his heirs defeate, 
of this matter it needeth noe more to treate 
the viitli henry was the first earle and his creation 
of king richard the second day of his coronation. 
The said lady maud lucy as I understand 


married herself conditionally to the foresaid 

seaventh henry first earl of Northumberland 

as to say that the lord pearcy should beare continually 

the blew lion and the lucies silver in his armes quarterly 

her name he might not take, issue none had shee 

therefore she Did bind him to beare her armes as in his armes yea 

may see. 
The honour of Cockermouth, came by her, shee gave it freely 
to him and his heires as by the Lawe she might 
bearing the foresaid armes of her in memory 
w^** the blew Lyon the Braband armes quarterly. 

4. Henricus Percy 
Hie Pure Sincerus, 

An anagram, from Camden's Remaines on Henry Percys Earl 
of Northumberland. " Upon which with relation to the crescent 
or silver moone was framed this — 

" Percius Hie Pure Sincere, Persia Luna 
Candida tota micat, pallet at ilia polo." 

5. Stirps persitina periet confusa ruina. 

That is, '' the Percy race shall perish in one confused ruin, 
A.D. 1408." " The Erie of Northumberland and the Lord Bar- 
dolfe, after they had been in Wales, in France, and Flanders, to 
purchase ayde against K. Henrie, were returned backe into Scot- 
land, and had remayned there nowe for the space of a whole yeare, 
and as theyr evill fortune woulde whilest the Kinge helde a 
counsell of the Nobilitie at London, the saide Earle of North- 
umberland and Lorde Bardolfe, in a dismoll houre, with a 
greate power of Scotts, returned into Englande, recovering 
diverse of the Earle's castles and seigniories, for the people in 
great numbers resorted unto them. Hereupon, encouraged 


witli hope of good successe, they enter into Yorkshyre, and 
there began to destroy the countrey. At their coming to 
Thersk, they pubHshed a proclamation, signifying that they 
were come in comfort of the English nation as to relieve the 
Commonwealth, willing all such as loved the liberty of their 
countrey to repayre unto them with their armor on their backes, 
in defensible wise to assist them. The king advertised thereof, 
caused a great armie to be assembled, and came forward with 
the same towards his enemies, but yer the king came to 
Nottingham, Sir Thomas, or (as others have) Sir Rafe Rokesbie, 
sheriff of Yorkshire, assembled the forces of the countie to resist 
the Earle and his power, comming to Grimbautbriggs, besides 
Knaresborough, there to stop the passage ; but they returning 
aside, got to Weatherbie and so to Tadcaster, and finally came 
forward to Bramham Moore, near to Haizelwood, where they 
chose their ground to fight upon. The sheriffe was as readie 
to give battell as the Erie to receive it ; and so with a standard 
of St. George spread, set fiercelie upon the Erie, who, under a 
standard of his own armes, encountered his adversaries with 
great manhood. There was a sore encounter and cruell conflict 
betwixt the parties, but in the ende the victorie fell to the 
sheriffe. The Lord Bardolfe was taken but sore wounded, soe 
that he shortlie after died of his hurts. As for the Erie of 
Northumberland he was slain outright, so that now the 
prophecie was fulfilled which gave an inkling of this his heavie 
hap long before, namely : — 

Stirps persitina periet confusa riiina. 

For this Erie was the stocke and maine root of all that were 
left aliue, called by the name of Persie, and of manie more by 
diverse slaughters dispatched. For whose misfortune the people 
were not a little sorrie, making report of the gentleman's 
valiantnesse, renowne, and honour. His head, full of siluer 


horle haires, being put upon a stake, was openlie carried 
through London, and set vpon the bridge of the same citie ; in 
like manner was the Lord Bardolfe's." — Hollinshedj 1577. 

G. Henry the Unthrifty. 

Henry Algernon Percy, sixth Earl of Northumberland, was 
so called on account of his alienation of vast numbers of the 
entailed estates of the family, under the act of Henry VIIL, 
which the king got passed purposely to reduce the feudal power 
of the English barons. This act wrought its purpose in the 
above nobleman to that extent, that he condescended to write 
Secretary Cromwell to solicit the appointment of the captaincy 
of Berwick-on-Tweed, promising a vail of 1000 marks. After 
this he alienated to the king in fee his house at Petworth, and 
other lands in Sussex, his lands in Middlesex, and large estates 
in Lincolnshire, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Somerset- 
shire, &c., &c. Li the same session another Act was passed 
settling upon the king, in case of failure of issue, all the other 
lands belonging to the earl. The extreme difficulties of the 
earl led him no doubt thus to dispose of the inheritance of his 
ancestors, and to trust to the honour and generosity of the 
crown for their restoration at a future period. Having acquired 
the appellation of Henry the Unthrifty, he expired, together 
with all his accumulated titles, 30th June, 1537, most probably 
of a broken heart, in consequence of beholding the ruin of his 
house. On the accession of Mary to the throne, however, " the 
waned crescent of the Percies " again " filled its horns." 

7. Lord Northumberland's Arms. 

Grose, in his Classical Dictionarji of the Vulgar Tongue^ 
notices this curious saying, sub voce '' Northumberland," the 
plain meaning of which is a black eye. Notwithstanding 
numerous researches and inquiries, I have never been able to 


meet with any explanation, or even suggestion, wliicli fully 
satisfied me as to its origin ; and I take it simply to be a very 
poor pun upon the sirname of Percy. 

See an extremely ingenious theory on the above saying in the 
form of a note on the " Percy Badge and Cressawnt," pp. 369, 
370, vol. 1, of the St. James's Magazine, by ^Mr. W. Hylton 

8. In Exaltatione Lunac Leo siiccumbet, et Leo cum Leone 
conjugetur, et catuli eorum regnabunt. 

This "old blind Latin" prophecy may be translated thus: " At 
the exaltation of the moon (which was the rising of the Earl of 
Northumberland, that giveth the moon in his shield of arms) , 
the lion (which is the Queen's Majesty) shall be overthrown ; 
then shall the Hon be joined with a lioness (which is the Duke 
of Norfolk with the Scottish Queeii, for they both bear lions in 
their arms), and their whelps shall reign, i.e., their posterity 
shall have the kingdoms." 

9. The Proud Percys. 

In the ancient ballad of the Battle of Otterhurne, we read : — 

Awaken, Douglas ! cryed the knyght, 

For thou maiste waken wyth wynne ; \ 

Yonder have I spyed the prowde Percy, 
And seven standardes wyth hym. 

As regards the " potential " and " peerless " properties of 
this not only "patrician" but "princely" and "powerful" 
family, their position in the North of England during a period of 
more than six hundred years, must be permitted to speak more 
in their praise than I dare presume, without being chargeable 
with promulgating positive flattery ; and as to the characteristic 
of pride, it were an easy matter to quote parties who were only, 


as it were, enobled yesterday, whose vanity of position, and 
pride of ancestry, exceed that of '^ the Percy " a thousand fold. 

" Like all powerful families in feudal times, the Percys 
occasionally basked in the smiles of courtly favour, or felt the 
withering influence of royal jealousy. At one time their kings 
wrote them ' his right trustie and well-beloved cousin ' ; and at 
another ' traytor ' and ' arch-enemie ' were the terms employed. 
Like themselves, their place of strength underwent the varied 
changes incident to a troubled age and dangerous locality. 
This day its gates were open to give noble welcome to guest 
and traveller ; and the next would find them closely barred to 
repel the threatened onslaught of the besieger." — Maxwell's 
Hillside and Border Sketches. 

10. I have saved the bird in my breast. 

The brave Sir Ralph Percy (fourth son of Henry, Earl of 
Korthumberland, who was slain at the battle of St. Albans, 22nd 
May, 1455), joined the standard of Queen Margaret, and in her 
cause encountered the army of Neville, Lord Montagu. During 
the contest he was abandoned by the Lords Hungerford and 
Eoos, his companions in arms; and the gallant Percy, and a 
great number of his faithful followers and attendants, fell 
bravely fighting on the field of battle, performing wonders to 
the last. When the " trustie " Percy was dying, alluding to 
his oath to Henry VI., he exclaimed, '' I have saved the bird 
in my bosom." Such were the dying words of this illustrious 
chieftain of the Percy race. 

IL Percy Slogans, or War Cries. 

1. Percy ! Percy ! 

2. A Percy ! A Percy ! 

3. Esperance Percy ! 

4. A Percy, Esperance ! 

5. Thousands for a Percy ! 


Fenwick Ehymes, &c. 

But he, the chieftain of them all, 
His sword hangs rusting on the wall, 
Beside his broken spear. 

.1. The Fierce Fenwicks. 
2. The Warlike Band of Fenwick. 

The ancient and clearly earned characteristics of the heroic 
family of Fenwick. This family, which is unquestionably of 
Saxon origin, takes its name from the fastness in the fenny 
grounds in the parish of Stamfordham. Their ancient place of 
residence was the Pile, Tower, or Castle of Fenwick. The right 
of this bold Border family to the designation of ' ' fierce " is recorded 
by contemporary poets, chroniclers, and historians, and also 
handed down by tradition. Grafton, in his Chronicle, relates as 
follows : " A.D. MDXXiv, the fift daye of July, Sir John a Fen- 
wicke, Leonard Musgrave, and Bastard Heron, and divers others, 
gathered together ix hundred men and entered into Scotland, in 
the countrye called the Marche, and robbed and spoyled all the 
countrie, and by chaunce the same season the Scots had assembled 
ii M. men to invade Englande, and none of these knewe of the 
other tyll they by adventure met together. Then began a strong 
medleye, for the Scottes fought valliantly a great while, and the 
Englishmen them hardly assayled, and at last, by fine force, 
caused them to leave the grounde and flie, and in the fight were 
taken ii c. Scottes and many slaine, of which the prisoners divers 
were gentlemen. Sir Eaufe of Fanwicke, Leonard Musgrave, 
and Bastard Heron, with xxx other Englishmen well horsed, 
followed so far the chace that they were past rescues of their 
company, which perceyving, the Scottes sodainly returned and 
set on the Englishmen, which, oppressed with the multitude, 


were soon overcome, and there was taken Sir Eaufe a Fanwicke, 
Leonard Musgrave, and syx other, and Bastard Heron and 
seaven other were slayne, the remnant by chaunce escaped ; the 
other Englishmen with their ii c. prisoners returned safely into 
England. The slaiyng of the Bastard Heron was more pleastire 
to the Scottes than the taking of the ii c. was displeasure, they 
hated him so."— jEcZ. 1580. 

In the fierce conflict which ensued at the Warden Meeting of 
the Eedeswire, Sir John Forster, Warden of the Middle Marches, 
some of the Fenwicks, and several other Border Chiefs, were 
taken prisoners to Dalkeith, where they were detained several 
days and then dismissed with sundry presents. 

" In the reign of King Charles I., Col. Geo. Fenwick (of 
Brinkburn) was in the service of Parliament and Governor of 
Berwick-on-Tweed. Cromwell, on taking Edinburgh, 1650, 
made him governor of that place also. He summoned the 
governor of Hume Castle to surrender to Cromwell. The 
governor answered, he knew not Cromwell, and for his castle, it 
was built on a rock. The ordnance playing against it, he sent 
Fenwick these verses ; 

I, William of the Wastle 
Am now in my Castle ; 
An' aw the dogs in the town 
Slian'd garre me gang down. 

Breaches were made in his castle and many rich goods spoiled: 
Gallant William was forced to surrender (Feb. 13, 1651) ; the 
soldiery were ordered to share the goods, except some furniture 
and bedding for the accommodation of his lady." — Wallis. 

The above rhyme, with trifling variations, is used to this day 
in the south of Scotland. A boy standing upon a hillock defies 
the efforts of others to dislodge him, exclaiming by way of 
challenge : 


I, Willie Wastle, 

Stand on my castle ; 

And a' tlie dogs o' your toon 

Will no drive Willie Wastle doon. 

The " Willie Wastle " of history was " one Jhone Cock- 
burne." — Chambers, Pop. Rhy. Scot. 

During the governorship of Col. Fenwick, and under his 
direction, Berwick Church was built, and his remains were 
interred therein 15 March, 1656. 


3. A Fenwyke ! A Fenwyke ! ! A Fenwyke ! ! ! 

[Although the author makes several remarks here, the 
subject has already been sufficiently illustrated. See on 
Slogans, ante.~\ 

4. To teach one the way to Wallington. 

When any one has a splendid hand at cards, and is beating 
easily, he is said to be teaching his antagonist the way to Wal- 
lington. The origin of the saying is, I believe, forgotten, I 
mean so far as the above application goes. In all probability 
it is only a comparatively modern variation of the following 
ancient cry : 

5. Show me the way to Wallington. 

This old cry, as I may call it, had its rise from the princely 
hospitalities of Wallington ; indeed, the immense kindness of 
the family was so proverbial that it forms the subject of local 
songs. Show us [v. me] the way to Wallington is an old and 
favourite air in the neighbourhood. Lovers of good cheer are 
often induced to exclaim in the above words when discoursing 
on the pleasures of the table. 


The following quatrain is supposed to be a fragment of the 
song alluded to : — 

Dear billy Sam, show rae the way to "Wallington ; 
I have a grey mare o' my ain, she ne'er gies owre 

a-gallopin ; 
Down by Bingfield Came (Comb), and in by the banks 

o' Hallington, 
Through by Baavington Syke — and that's the way to 


[Tliis, which I sent to Mr. Denham, was obtained from an 
old man who, in his youth, had lived near the place. It is a 
rhyme, sung to the tune of " Show me the way to Wallington," 
by nurses dandling children on their knees, and I do not suppose 
it was ever anything else. Bingfield Comb is a farmsteading. 
Hallington Hall is a gentleman^s seat. Bavington Syke (pr. 
Baavington) is probably a marsh passed in olden time near one 
of the places called Bavington, neither of them far from the 
present public road. — J. H.]* 

6. The wine of Wallington old songsters praise : 
The Phoenix from her ashes Blacketts raise. 

Cheviot, a Poem, p. 14. 

Wallington was possessed by the Fenwicks through a long suc- 
cession. It was purchased by the second Sir William Blackett, 
whose father, an alderman of Newcastle, was created a baronet 
1673, and died 1680. 

Wallington has from an early period been proverbial for its 
hospitality^ and none of its magnificence was found to abate in 
the change of ownership. 

The Phoenix named in the second line alludes to the Fenwick 

* Converted into a recent song, " Show me the way to Wallington," 
which may be found, accompanied with the small pipe music, in The 
Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend, 1890, pp. 421-2. 


crestj and is intended as a pun on Fenwick ; and as the crest 
alludes to the surname of the family, so does the motto, 

Perit : ut : vivat, 
allude to the crest. 

7. Harnham was headless, Bradford breadless, 
And Shaftoe picked at the Craw ; 
Capheaton was a wee bonny place, 
But Walliugton bang'd them a'. 

Harnham is in the parish of Bolam, 10^ miles W.S.W. of 
Morpeth. " On the black day of November 2, 1653, the House 
of Commons resolved that the name of Thomas Winkle, of 
Harnham, be inserted into the Bill for the sale of estates 
forfeited to the Commonwealth for treason." His son, Thomas 
Wrinkles or Winkles, of Ford^ sold the house and land. 
Harnham anciently belonged to the Babingtons. — Hodgson's 
Hist, of Northumberland, vol. i., part ii., p, 345. 

The Craw, in line two, evidently alludes to the Crasters, 
anciently Craucestre, who were rapidly getting the estates of 
the Shaftoe family into their possession ; and were, as a con- 
sequence picked at by the junior branches of that family. 

Capheaton, in the parish of Kirkwhelpington, a place of some 
beauty, is the mansion of Sir John Swinburne ; and has been 
for many generations a possession of the family. It contains the 
best private library of any gentleman in Northumberland. 

Fair Wallington has been decreed by fate 
To be the capital of a large estate. 
' Cheviot, a Poem. 

Wallington is in the parish of Hartburn. 
[It came into the possession of the Fenwicks by marriage, 
and was sold in the latter part of the 17tli century to Sir 
William Blackett, by Sir John Fenwick, Bart., who, for the 
crime of high treason, was condemned and beheaded on Tower 
Hill, London, 27th Jan., 1696.] 


8. If you give your horse tlie bridle, he'll carry you to Wallington. 

The above, wHch used to be a common expression in North- 
umberland, with reference to the hospitalities of Wallington, 
proves that the Fenwyke kindness extended not to man alone — 
his beast also partook of a well-filled rack and manger. 

9. Sir John Fenwick's the flower amang them. 

The name of the old clan tune of the Fenwyke. Although 
the names of but few of these tunes and songs have descended 
to us, there is no question but that every feudal lord and war- 
like sept (those of the Borders more especially) had its own 
peculiar gathering march, or battle song ; to which was 
attached its equally peculiar family tune. These tunes are 
described as being " stately and animating, rising often to a 
degree cf fury." As in Scotland, so also in Northumberland, 
the favourite musical instrument was the pipes, which instru- 
ment is singularly adapted for the pibroch — a species of martial 
music proverbial for its wild and impassioned notes. These 
clan tunes were used with the greatest efi*ect when marching to 
the battle field. 

The music of the Fenwyke war song is preserved in MS., but 
the words I fear are lost. Mr. John Fenwick de Novo Castro 
super Tinam, one of the " knightly family," informs ine that 
he had heard his mother sing the song when he was a child. 
He also says that the town waits of Hexham used uniformly to 
play the tune at his father's door. 

Fama : Semper : Viret. 

10. Fenwick of By well's away to Newmarket, 
Away to Newmarket, away to Newmarket ; 
Fenwick of Bywell's away to Newmarket, 
And he'll be there before we get started. 

This old jingle is curious, inasmuch as it is the only instance 


of a nursery rhyme which involves a local sirname and residence 
that, at present occurs to me. [I procured this from the same 
party from whom I noted down the rhyme in No. 5. William 
Fenwick, Esq , of By well, was a noted sportsman, whom I find 
mentioned at different dates from 1758 to 1771 ; and he lived 
probably later than that, for in 1790 a "long main" (cock- 
fighting) was fought at Hexham, between the Duke of 
Northumberland and Mr. Fenwick, and another main the 
same year at Alnwick, between the Duke of Northumberland 
and Charles Grey, Esq. (the late Earl Grey) , jointly, and Mr. 
Fenwickj of By well.* The verses cannot be older than the end 
of the eighteenth century. — J. H.] 

Gathering Ode of the Fenwick. 

The slaughtered cliiefs, the mortal jar, 
The havoc of the feudal war, 
Shall never, never be forgot. 

By purchase and by marriage with some of the principal 
families in Northumberland, the Fenwyke obtained large 
possessions, which from the unsettled state of the times 
required the protection of military power. 

The late Mr. William Richardson, of North Shields, pub- 
lished the following " Gathering Ode " in one of our local prints 
several years ago. Mr. Richardson supposes an inroad of the 
Scots to have taken place in the absence of the Percy in 
Palestine, and that this ode, in the manner of the Highland 
pibroch, Avas used by the Fenwicke to repel them. He 
"respectfully inscribed it" to a descendant of the ancient 

* Hand-book to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by Rev. Dr. Bruce, p. 102. 


warlike band of Fenwicke (viz., Mr. John Fenwick, Newcastle). 
The notes arc Mr. Richardson's. 

Pipe of North iimbria sound ! 

War pipe of Alnwick ! 
Wake the ^yild hills around, 

Summon the Fenwick ; 
Percy at Panim * war, 

Fenwick stands foremost ; 
Scots in array from far. 

Swell wide their war-host. 

See, fierce from the border, 

Wolf-like he rushes ; 
Drives southward the Warder ; 

Gore-stream forth gushes ; 
Come spearman, come bowman. 

Come bold-hearted Truewicke; 
Repel the proud foeman ; 

Join lionJike Bewicke.f 

From Fenwick and Denwicke, 

Harlow and Hallington ; 
Sound bugle at Alnwicke, 

Bagpipe at Wallington ; | 
On Elf Hills § th' alarm wisp, || 

Smoulders in pale ray ; 
Maids, babes that can scarce lisp, 

Point trembling the bale way. 

* Or Paynim — the Crusade, f Names of clans or families, the 
retainers or vassals of Percy and allies of Fenwick, descendants of 
whom exist to this day. if Hamlets in Northumberland. § The 
Hills of the Fairies, near Cambo ; Sir John de Cambo kept a Avatch 
on these and the neighbouring eminences. || A wisp of straw or 
tow, mounted upon the point of a spear, and set on fire when a raid 
took place. When this portentous ensign was carried through the 
Border country, all must instantly fly to arms. It was the *• hot-trod." 



Leave the plough, leave the mow, 

Leave loom and smithie ; 
Come with your trusty yew, 

Strong arm and pithy ; 
Leave the herd on the hill, 

Lowing and flying ; 
Leave the vill, cot and mill, 

The dead and the dying. 

Come clad in your steel jack, 

Your war gear in order. 
And down hew or drive back 
. The Scot o'er the Border ; 

And yield you to no man ; 

Stand firm in the van-guard ; 
Brave death in each foeman, 

Or die on the green-sward. 

[11. *' Insignis et illustris Fenwickorum progenies."] 


That is to deceive a friend wlio confides in your fidelity. 
When Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was defeated in 
the rebellion he had raised against Queen Elizabeth, he hid 
himself in the house, of one Hector Armstrong, having con- 
fidence he would be true to him; who, notwithstanding, for 
money betrayed him to the Regent of Scotland, 1569. At the 
period of this event Hector was living at Harelaw, in the town- 
ship of Paston, five miles west of Kirknewton ; and it was 
observed that from being a comparatively rich man, he suddenly 
became poor ; and was besides so generally hated, that he durst 
not go abroad ; insomuch that the above proverb is continued to 
this day in Northumberland (and has spread itself through the 
whole of England) , in the sense above mentioned. 

[" Hector of Tharlowes hedd was wished to have been eaten 


amongst us at supper." — Sadler's State Papers, Edin., 1809, 
ii., 384, 388. Mr. Denham's notice is from Mackenzie's 
Northumberland, i., p. 375. Both have mistaken Hector Arm- 
strong's residence, which was at Harlaw, in the precincts of 
Liddesdale, and not tlie Northumbrian Harelaw. — J. H.] 

If they come, they come not : 
If they come not, they come. 

The cattle of the people living on the Borders turned into the 
common pasture, did by custom use to return to their homes at 
night, unless intercepted by the freebooters of the Scottish 
Borders. If, therefore, these Borderers came, their cattle came 
not ; but if they came not, their cattle surely returned. In 
reality, this old saying is a Border riddle. [I procured this 
saying at Wooler. In the Scotsmari's Library, however, p. 136, 
it is cited as a Border motto, to mark the incessant vigilance 
with which the Borderers guarded their castles. — J. H.j 

Amicus Amico Alanus, 
Belliger Belligero Bellinghamus. 

Sir Alan Bellingham, son of Richard Bellingham, of Belling- 
ham Castle, was treasurer of Berwick, and deputy warden of 
the marches, in the reign of Henry VIII. The above distich 
alludes to Sir Alan's disposition, which was to be friendly to 
his friends, and ever ready to fight his foes. 

The Courteous Collingwoods. 

The characteristic of one of Northumbria's patrician families. 
This enviable epithet is to be met with in the ballad of the Raid 
of the Reidsioire. [Horsley sa3^s of the last of the Collingwoods 
of Eslington, who lost his life and estate for participating in the 
rebellion of 1715 : " His fate was generally lamented and 



pitied, he himself having had the character of an inoffen- 
sive, peaceable gentleman." — Horsley's Northumberland, p. 54. 
Edited by Mr. Hodgson- Hinde.] 


This ancient cognomen, which has now attached itself to a 
gigantic figure cut upon a large rock within half a mile of the 
Roman station of Risingham ; was originally given to one of the 
family of Umfraville, lords of Prudhoe. It was also at a later 
period given to one Robert Hilliard, a friend and follower of 
the king-making Earl of Warwick. This person commanded an 
army of Northamptonshire and Northern men, who seized and 
beheaded without judgment the Earl Rivers, father to Edward 
the Fourth's queen, and his son, Sir John Wood\^ille. See 
Holinshed, ad annum 1469. [There were more Robins of 
Redesdale ; but neither they nor the last quoted have any con- 
nection with the Northumbrian vale of the Rede or Reed. In 
1468-9, Sir William Conyers, Knight, " whiche called himself 
Robyne of Riddesdale," headed a great insurrection in York- 
shire, Warkicorth Chronicle, p. 6 ; also J. 0. Halliwell in 
Archceologia, xxix., p. 138. At Richard the Third's corona- 
tion, 4th July, 1483, "he had sent for five thousand men out 
of the north ; who came to London, under the leading of 
Robin Riddersdale." Baker's Chronicle, p. 226. — See another 
account of Conyers' insurrection, Slogans, ante.^ 

Robin Mend-Market. 

At the foot of Yevering Bell, and a little to the south of the 
village of Yevering, is an upright stone, about twelve feet high, 
where Sir Robert Umfraville, popularly known by the name of 
Robin Mend-Market, defeated a party of Scots in 1415. In 1410, 
Sir Robert Umfraville took fourteen Scotch ships with his ten 
English in the Firth of Forth, and took and burnt Peebles on 


the fair day, " where he caused his men to mete cloth with their 


" At Pebles long afore that time iiii yere, 
He brente the towne upon their market daye, 
And met theyr cloth wit speares and bowes sere. 
By his bidding without any naye ; 
Wherefore the Scottes, from thence forthward ay, 
Called him Robin Mendmarket in certayn, 
For his measures were so large and playn." 

Harding's Chronicle. 

Other authorities say he derived the name from the corn and 
cattle which he got in his frequent inroads having the popular 
effect of lowering the prices of provisions in the Northumberland 
markets. Indeed a passage in Harding himself lends some 
countenance to the notion. 

" With his prises he came to Englande, 
Full of cloth, woollen, and lynnen that land to amend, 
Pytche and tarre both, for fre and bond, 
For to amende the shepes of our lande ; 
Floure and mele of whete and rye he solde 
The market he so mended manyfolde." 

[The standing stone at Yevering, in a field on the north side 
of Yevering Bell, belongs to a much earlier period than Umfre- 
ville's exploit. Another stone at the south-east end of the hill, 
near a tumulus, is now prostrate. A similar monument near 
Humbleton, said to memorialise the Battle of Homildon, was 
found to be associated with British remains. Two fine bronze 
celts were obtained near the Humbleton Stone. All these three 
stones are noticed in Materials for the History of Nortliurriber- 
land, by the Rev. John Horsley (1729-30), privately printed by 
Mr. Hodgson Hinde, p. 12: "Two of these are in Yeavering 
grounds, at a distance from one another, which a countryman 
told me was set over one that was murdered or had destroyed 


himself. This traditionary story may have arose from its being 
a sepulchral stone of some kind or other. I saw another such 
between Akeld and Wooler, like the four stones in Eadnor- 
shire."— J. H.] 

Umfreville and Estoteville, 

The Wyville, and the Tancarville, 

All cam here wi' Norman Will. 

A traditional rhyme which has the valuable aid of history to 
confirm its truth. The second and third families settled in 
Yorkshire. Robert de Estoteville, or Stuteville, was lord of 
Knaresborough, 1556. This family is now I believe, in the 
male line, quite extinct. The Wyvilles remain to the present 
day a highly respectable and opulent Yorkshire family. The 
Umfrevilles (once a powerful Northumbrian family) are now 
lowered to an equality with the common herd of mankind. Mr. 
William Umfreville, keeper of St. Nicholas Workhouse, New- 
castle-on-Tyne, died 17th November, 1789. He had in his 
possession a sword which belonged to Sir Robert de Umfreville, 
Vice-Admiral of England, about the time of Richard II. Mr. 
Umfreville died in extreme poverty, leaving a widow and one 

It is highly probable that the identical sword possessed by 
Mr. Umfreville was that with which the first Northumbrian 
ancestor of the race was knighted and invested by his kins- 
man William the Conqueror to hold by the tenure of defending 
Redesdale from enemies and wolves. Tradition says that this 
was the sword which King William had by his side when he 
crossed the Tyne. " Died in the Friars, Newcastle, 10th June, 
1850, aged 90, Mr. John Umfraville, shoemaker. Deceased 
was the last male descendant of the celebrated Umfravilles of 
the county of Northumberland, formerly lords of Harbottle and 
VrndoG.^^-^ Durham Adv. Newspaper . 


Like as the brand doth flame and burn, 
So -we from death to life should turn. 

An old rhyme, or motto, of the Brandling family, whose 
crest is an oak tree in flames— perhaps a Border beacon — the 
name first occurring on the Border as burgesses of Berwick on 
Tweed. This family had been seated at Gosforth, near New- 
castle, since the early part of the sixteenth century. — [From 
Sharp's BisJioprick Garland.~\ 

As as the Ha's, on the false-hearted Ha's {i.e. Halls). 

This saying, or rather characteristic (peculiar to Redesdale), 
alludes to the murder of Parcy Reed at Batinghope on the 
River Reed. The murder, it appears, was plotted by a family 
of brothers of the name of Hall, who, under the mask of 
friendship, got him to go with them on a pretended hunting 
expedition, when he was deserted by his false friends, and 
murdered by a band of Croziers, with whom the Halls were in 
league. Tradition informs us that the fragments of Reed's 
body were conveyed to his residence at Troughend in linen 
bags. The name of Crozier became in consequence detested in 
Redesdale, and their abettors were driven from their residence, 
and the appellation " the fause-hearted Ha's" remains in force 
against their descendants to the present day. See Sir Walter 
Scott's Rokehy ; Roxby's Lay of the Reedwater Minstrel ; Local 
Historians' Table Booh, i-^Qg- Div., vol. ii. pp. 361 to 3C9. The 
ghost of Parcy Reed is still said to haunt Pringle Haugh and 

the neighbourhood. 

A Tweedale 

A Eedesdale Eogue, 
A Tindale Thief, 
A Weardale Wolf, 
A Teesdale Tupe. 

I have an imperfect recollection of some ancient alliterative 


verses, in character somewhat like the above, which I Avritc 
down from memory, but dare not vouch for their correctness. 

We will not lose a Scot. 

That is anything, however inconsiderable, which we can 
possibly save or recover. During the enmity of the two nations 
the inhabitants of Northumberland had as little esteem and 
affection for a Scots Borderer as the Scottish man had for him. 
" Hit her hard, she's a Scot," is another old Border saying still 
in use. It means give it her well, or give her no quarter, as 
the Scots did to the English. 

Elliots a;<;d Armstrongs ride Thieves all ! 

The Armstrongs appear to have been at an early period in 
possession of a great part of Liddesdale and of the Debateable 
Land. Their immediate neighbourhood to England rendered 
them the most dangerous of the Border depredators, and, as 
much of the country possessed by them was claimed by both 
kingdoms, the inhabitants protected from justice by one nation 
in opposition to the other, securely preyed upon both. The 
rapacity of this clan and of their allies, the Elliots, occasioned 
the above popular saying. (But to what Border family of any 
note in former days would not such a saying be equally 
applicable?) All along the River Liddle, or Liddel, may still 
be seen the ruins of towers possessed by this clan. They did 
not, however, entirely trust to these fastnesses; but when 
attacked by a superior force, abandoned entirely their dwellings 
and retired into morasses, accessible by paths known to them- 
selves alone. One of their most noted places of refuge was the 
Tarras Moss, a desolate and horrible marsh, through which a 
small river takes its course. In this retreat the Armstrongs, 
AD. 1558, baffled the Earl of Angus, when lieutenant on the 
Border, although he accounted himself very skilful in winding 
a thief. On that occasion, however, he was totally unsuccess- 


full, and nearly lost his kinsman, Douglas of Ively, whom the 
freebooters made prisoner. The kings of Scotland disowned 
them as subjects. 

" On that Border was the Arnistrongs, able men, 
Somewhat unruly and very ill to tame. 
I would have none think that I call them thieves, 
For, if I did, it would be arrant lies." 

Satchell's History of the Name of Scott. 

The above author would gladly make it appear that a reiver 
was not a thief. And yet, 

" They sought their beeves that made their broth, 
In Scotland and in England both." 

Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

For the enterprises of the Armstrongs against their native 
country when under English assurance, see Murdin's State 
Papers, vol. i, p. 43. From these it appears that by command 
of Sir Ralph Evers, this clan ravaged almost the whole of the 
West Border of Scotland. 

There is a story that a convicted moss-trooper of the clan 
Armstrong, being promised his pardon on condition of dis- 
closing the best safeguards to a house against his own fraternity, 
gave the following information as his " fee," viz., " that a small 
but vigilant dog within the house and rusty locks were the 
greatest impediments to the housebreaker.^' Chambers* Pop. 
Rhy. of Scotland, 3rd ed., p. 322. The above piece of valuable 
information is thus thrown into Scottish rhyme: — 

" A terricr-tyke, and a rusty key, 
Were Johnie Armstrong's Jeddart fee."* 

An Armstrong, who had his residence in Cumberland, was 

* The true reading is : 

" Yelping terrier,, rusty key 
Was Walter Scott's best Jeddart fee." 
See Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott, p. 60, royal 8vo. edit. 


popularly known by the name of '' Luck in the Bag." He, like 
many more of his kith and kin, was a celebrated horse stealer. 
On the Scottish Border the following saw is pretty general : 
*' Like the Elliots of Swinside, water them well and they'll need 
the less corn," i.e., give them plenty to drink and they'll eat 
the less meat. Swinside is a small hamlet in the parish of 
Oxnam, Roxburghshire. 

Fuller, in his Worthies of England, p. 216, says, ** They (the 
moss-troopers) come to church as seldom as the 29th of 
February comes into the kalendar." He also gives us numerous 
other particulars anent the olden race of Border worthies. 
Lesley, however, tells us that though they might be rather 
deficient in real religion they regularly told their beads, and 
never with more zeal " than when going on a plundering 

The Northern Lion o'er the Tweed 
The Maiden Queen shall next succeed, 
And join in one two mighty states, 
Tlien shall Janus shut his gates. 

This rhyming prophecy relates to King James I. (of England), 
who having been many years King of Scotland, the crown of 
England by Queen Elizabeth's death fell to him ; whereupon 
he came over the Tweed to take up his residence here, and so 
joined the two kingdoms into one government. Janus (one of 
the heathen gods) had a temple at Rome, the gates of which 
were never shut but in a time of profound peace, alluding to 
which custom is hereby made known the peaceful reign of King 

LoED Derwentwater's Lights. 

James Ratcliffe, third and last Earl of Derwentwater, was 
born in the year 1689. Of all the victims who fell a sacrifice to 
the rash enterprise of 1715, none fell more lamented than the 


young and generous Earl of Derwentwater ; and his memory 
will long continue to be revered in tlie sister counties of Durham 
and Northumberland, where numerous instances of his affability 
and beneficence are still related with the deepest feelings of 
heartfelt sympathy and regret. He, along with the principal 
leaders^ was beheaded on Tower Hill, 24th February, 1716. 
No coffin being prepared, his head was wrapped in a napkin 
and his body rolled in a cloak, and carried by a servant to the 
Tower. His remains finally, by secret means, found their 
resting place in the family burial place at Dilston. Many 
wonderftd and miraculous circumstances are popularly believed 
to have attended his death. In particular the Aurora Borealis, 
which darted forth with remarkable brilliancy on the night of 
his execution, is still known in the North of England by the 
name of Lord Derwentwater's Lights ; and so extreme was its 
vividness that some of his most zealous " partizans imagined 
they saw in this novel appearance men without heads." — 
Surtees' Hist, of Durham, i. xvi. cxx. " The ignorant peasantry 
were not slow to receive the superstitious stories that were pro- 
pagated on the occasion of the earl's death, and often has the 
rustic, beside the winter's hearth, listened to the fearful tale of 
how the spouts of Dilston Hall ran blood, and the very corn 
which was being ground came from the mill with a sanguine 
hue on the day the earl was beheaded." * 

* There is an account of this Aurora in Horsley's Northumberland, 
p. 21. They are thus alluded to in ColKns's Ode on the Superstitions 
of the Highlanders, whence it appears that the belief in their being 
a portent of a national calamity was not peculiar to Northum- 
berland : — ^ 

'• As Boreas threw his young Aurora forth, 
In the first year of the first George's reign. 
And battles raged in welkin of the North, 

They mourn'd in air, fell, fell rebellion slain." — J.H. 


The Northern Lights, when first seen, were also called Merry- 
Dancers and Burning Spears ; and to persons of imaginative 
or superstitious mind they still convey the idea of clashing of 
arms in a military fray. 

RoDDAM Rhymes, etc. 

While sheep bear wool, 

And cows grow hair. 
A Roddam of Roddam 

For ever mair. 

The Roddams are a very ancient British family, and upon 
one of their old pedigrees is written the following grant in 
Saxon characters : — 

I, King Athelstan, gives unto thee, Pole Roddam, 

From me and mine, to thee and thine, 

Before my wife Maude, my daughter Maudlin, and my son Henry. 

And for a certain truth, 

I bite this wax with my gang tooth. 

So long as muir bears moss and cnout grows hair, 

A Roddam of Roddam for ever mair. 

Again we have the following concession, " ad paulum Roydon," 
evidently a corruption of Boddam, also equally genuine, no 
doubt : — 

I, William, King, the third yere of my reign, 

Give to the Paulyn Roydon Hope and Hope-towne, 

With all the bounds both up and down 

From Heaven to Yerth, fro Yerthe to Hel, 

For thee and thyn there to dAvell, 

As truly as this King right is myn. 

For a cross bow and arrowe. 

When I sal come to hunt on Yarrow. 


And in token that this thing is sooth, 
I bite the wax with my tooth, 
Before Meg, Maud, and Margery, 
And my third sonne Henery.* 

This method of impressing the wax of the seal with the 
wang or gang tooth, is mentioned by Verstegan in his Restitution 
of Decayed Intelligence, ed. 1605, p. 223. 

In 1387, the Earls of Fife and Douglas, with Lord Galloway, 
passed the water of Solway, and surprised Cockermouth, which 
they plundered and returned to Scotland unmolested, through 
Westmoreland and Northumberland. Amongst other writings 
found by the Scots, whilst rifling the houses in the latter county, 
in their expedition, was a third specimen of the art of con- 
veyancing in the twelfth century, which, in equally artless and 
simple rhymes, ran : — 

I, King Athelstan, gives to Pallan 

Ocham and Eodcham, 

Als guid and als fayre 

As ever they myn weare, 

And yarto witness Maulde my wife. 

[* Tlie original of this appears to be a supposed grant of 
William the Conqueror to ** the Norman Hunter," to be found in 
Stow's Chronicle by Howes, p. Ill, from the authority of a chronicle 
" in the Library at Eichmont," as follows :^ 

" I, William, King, the third yeare of my raigne, 
Giue to the Norman Hunter, to me that art both life and deerc, 
The Hop and the Hopton, ?,nd all the bounds vp and downe, 
Vnder the earth to hell, aboue the earth to heauen, 
From me and from mine, to thee and to thine, 
As good and as f»lre, as euer they mine were. 
To witnesse that this is sooth, I bite the white waxe with my 

Before Jugge, Mawd, and Margery, and my yongest sonne Henry, 
For one bow and broad arrow, when I come to hunt vpon 
Yarrow."— J. H.] 


The version in Forduni ScoticJironicon, ii. p. 403 (Goodal's 
edition), is — 

I, Kyng Adelstane, 

Giifys here to Paulan, 

Oddam and Eoddam 

Als gude and als fair, 

As evir thai myn war ; 

And tharto witnes Maid my wyf. 

[In Boethius {Scotorum Histories, Parisiis, 1575, fol. 311), 
the diploma is given thus : " I, Kyng Adelstan, gevis heir to 
Paulan, Odden and Rodden, als guyde and als fair as euir yai 
mine wayr, and yarto witness Malde my wiiffe." Eobert. 
regent of Scotland, commended its brevity, which contrasted 
favourably with the verbiage and circumlocution customary in 
deeds even of his period. — J. H.] 

Quis fuit Alcydes ? quis Cajsar Julius ? aut quis 
Magnus Alexander ? Alcydes se superasse 
Fertur. Alexander mundum, sed Julius hostem ; 
Se simul Oswaldus, et mundum vicit et hostem. 

Camden gives the above ancient Latin distich on Oswald, King 
of Northumberland, the glory of whose arms were not more 
eminent than the fame of his wisdom. His lenity and benevo- 
lence were proverbial ; the neighbouring nations regarded him 
with reverence, and his people obeyed him with love. 

Translation : — 

Who was Alcydes ? Alexander who ? 
Or Julius Caisar ? Let the first subdue 
Himself", — the next the world, the last the foe ; 
Oswald subdued himself — the world — the foe. 



Atween Craig-cross and Eildon Tree. 

A bonny bairn there is to be, 

That'll neither have hands to feight, nor feet to flee ; 

To be born in England, brought up in Scotland, 

And to gang hame to England again to dee. 

This Border prophecy has been popular in the south of 
Scotland from time immemorial. It is usually ascribed to 
Alexander Peden, the Cameronian seer, but in reality is 
believed to be of much greater antiquity. Be the author who 
he may, the propliecy came true in modern days. 

About the middle of the last century a boy was born without 
hands or feet at Ballen Mill, near Falstone. His name was 
Paterson. Soon after his birth he was removed to Falnash 
Mill, near the head of the River Teviot, about eight miles 
above Hawick. Here he was brought up. While yet a child 
he was taken back to England with the rest of the family, and 
died at Carlisle, aged seven years, thus completely fulfilling 
every particular of the prediction, and thereby confirming all 
the people who knew the circumstances in a belief of 
Mr. Peden's prophetic powers. Chambers' Edinburgh Journal^ 
No. 61. [Richardson's Table-Book, Leg. Div. ii. p. 244.] 

Agnus nok pardus ja.cet hic: Prior ecce Rioardus. 
In English thus : — 

A Lanrb not a Leopard lies here, 
Behold it is Richard the Prior. 

The epitaph of Richard, prior of Lindisfarne. He was 
appointed in 1272, and appears to have died in 1285. 


Live ITawks for dead IJEr.oxs, 

Sir George Heron, of Chipchase and Ford, had the misfor- 
tune to be slain in the skirmish of the Raid of tlie Redeswire, to 
the great regret of both parties, being a man greatly respected 
by our Scottish neighbours as well as the English. When the 
English prisoners M'ere brought to Morton, at Dalkeith, and 
among other presents received from him were some Scottish 
falcons, one of his train observed that the English were most 
nobly treated, since they got " live hawks for dead herons." — 

Had not jMorton the old proverb in his mind, " He doesn't 
ken a hawk fra a heron," when he made this offering to the 
English prisoners? Other readings of this saw give Herousew 
and Heronshaw, all of which have got vilely corrupted into 
" Handsaw ! " 

Nicholas Ridley, the Broad Kkight. 

The above portly gentleman was of the family of Willimotes- 
wick, in the township of Ridley, and parish of Haltvvhlstle. 
According to Flower's Visitation of Northumherland, 1575, he 
was married to Mary, the daughter or niece of Thomas 
Musgrave, by Joane Stapleton, and is said to have been the 
elder brother of Christopher Ridley, father of the Bishop of 


Many families who bear this name spelt it Gray. The Greys 
are characterised as a greedy race, and, according to the vulgar 
creed, a greedy person cannot possibly be a good one. 


The Scaling Laddeii Greys. 

Thomas de Grey, from 1319 to 1331, held the important post 
of governor of Xorham Castle. By all he was considered wise 
in council, and brave in the field ; being no less than twice left 
for dead upon the field of battle. Of him we find it written : — 
" That there never was such a man for cutting his way through 
the midst of an enemy." He was at the battle of Roslin in 
1302 ; at the siege of Stirling in 1304 ; at the battle of 
Bannockburn 1314, where he was made prisoner. From the 
gallant martial exploits of this famed warrior is obtained the 
scaling-ladder, the crest of the noble family of Grey of Howick. 
The term is used simply in order to distinguish the Howick from 
the other Northumbrian families of the same name. E. W., 
the author of Cheviot, a poetical fragment, thus notices the tomb 
of Sir Ealph Grey (1406-1443) in Chillingham Church. 

Grey lies another Mars at Chillingham, 
With scaling-ladders and a battering ram. 


Sir John Babington, of the Harnham family, acquired the 
crest and motto of his coat armour by a desperate service under 
King Henry IV. in France. On his own petition he was one 
of the six young knights sent on this duty ; and on leaving the 
royal presence he brandished his sword and exclaimed, " Foy 
est tons ! " Their crest is a dragon's head, with the above 
words proceeding from its mouth. 

Lee Ha's to Edinburgh hinney 
Lee Ha's *o Edinburgh gane ; 
Lee Ha's to Edinburgh hinney, 
To fetch robber Will o' the Kame. 

Tradition says that a younger member of the Lee Hall family 


resided at the Comb (Kame of the rhymes) and had got 
incarcerated for want of a clear perception of the difference 
between meum and tuum ; and that the chief of the clans made 
a journey to Edinburgh to help him out of his difficulties. 
This might almost be inferred from the stanza above given, 
and it derives confirmation from the fact of the Comb having 
remained in possession of the Charltons of Lee Hall to the 
present time (1854). 

Lowes and Leehall. 

There was, perhaps still is, a ballad called Lowes atid Leehall, 
which relates to a feud betwixt these two country keepers ; in 
the reign of Queen Anne. The former was the keeper of South 
Tyne, the latter of North Tyne. The particulars of this quarrel 
are to be met with in Richardson's Table-Book^ under the 
head of Frank Stokoe, a notorious freebooter. If it still exists 
in any of the dales of Northumberland, " pity " it were such 
particulars should be lost. The following stanza is supposed 
to belong to this ballad : — 

Leeha's to Edinborougli Willie, 
Leeha's to Edinborough gane ; 
Leeha's to Edinborongli Willie, 
To catch rogue Will o' th' Kamc. 

and if so, it has a birr about it, much like the opening of a 
northern pibroch. 

He rides like a Bambroughshire Laird. 

That is, with one spur, and a stick or whip in his opposite 
hand. Laird is a name given in Northumberland to a proj^rietor 
of lands, without any relation to manorial rights. This proverb 


will remind the reader of the boastful rhymes of the Men of 
Kent :— 

1. A knight of Gales, a squire of Wales, 
A laird of the North Countree ; 
A Yeoman of Kent, with his yearly rent, 
"Will buy them out all three. 

2. English laird, German Count, and French marqui, 
A Yeoman of Kent is worth them all three. 

The Chief of Beaufront. 

The villa of Beaufront a little to the south-west of the village 
of Sandhoe, in the parish of St. John Lee, was long the property 
and residence of the late John Errington, Esq., who died in 
1818. Mr. Errington was remarkable for his eccentricities, 
hospitalities, and charity ; and was facetiously called ])y the 
country people, the Chief of Beaufront. [In Horsley's time 
Beaufront was corruptly called " Beevram." " It has," he 
says, " a pleasant situation, and a beautiful front, and deserves 
the name it bears of Beaufront."] 

Byker Hill and Walker Shore, 
Collier lads for evermore. 

I suppose that this distich insinuates that the principal 
portion of the male inhabitants of these two places, have been, 
are, and evermore will be, nothing more than collier lads. 

To LEAP THE Well. 

On St. Mark's Day, a^irants to the freedom of the borough 
of Alnwick used to proceed, in great state and in equal spirits, 
from the town to the moor, where they drew up in a body at 
some distance from a water [through which they had to 



plunge] ; and on arrival at the spot, and a signal being given, 
they scrambled with great difficulty through the deep and 
noisome pit, or pool, which was filled with mud. It was about 
GO feet in length. [This quagmire was dammed up fur the purpose 
two or three days before].* Tradition says, that this strange, 
ridiculous and filthy custom (rendered more ridiculous by being 
performed in white clothing) was imposed by King John^ who 
was bogged in this very pool while hunting. It is very pro- 
bable that the ceremony might originate with this king, but it 
is certain that the burgesses were incorporated long before his 

Neck or Nought, as Johnny Wardle said. 

It is to be understood that the aspirants to civic honours had 
had their filthy dip, and were in full career back to canny 
Alnwick. ^' From ' Tom Shadford's monument,' nearly the 
highest ground in the l\Ioor, there is a continual declivity to the 
Moor Burn ; yet down this steep the freemen ride furiously, 
here among bogs and heather, there through whin-bushes, 
sometimes among quarries, at others near to sand-pits. The 
danger is considerable, especially to unpractised riders. Pro- 
vidence must surely watch over the young freemen as carefully 
as he does over children, for no fatal accident has ever thrown 
a dark shade over the proceedings of the day. Often, it is true, 
severe falls occur, six horses and their riders were on one 
occasion, stretched at a short distance from each other on the 
bare craggs, or plunged into the bogs of the ' Horse Close.' 
One reckless, boasting freeman, has immortalised himself by 
giving birth to a proverb : ' Neck or nought, as Johnny Wardle 
said,' is applied to any des])erate undertaking ; for Johnny, 

* Mark's Survey of Northumlerland, 1734, p. 84, Printed by Mr. 


mounted on a blood-horse, after clearing the ' Freeman's Gap,' 
was galloping heedlessly down the hill, and repeatedly crying 
out, ' neck or nought, neck or nought,' when lo ! horse and 
rider dashed over into ' Paul's-rest Quarry,^ where, though he 
escaped with life, the horse's neck was broken." Mr. George 
Tate, Provincial Souvenir and Eastern Border Annual for 1846, 
p. 169.— [Comm. by J. H.] 

A HowDEN-PAN Cant. 
That is, an awkward fall or overturn. 

A HowDEN-PAN Canter. 

Howden-pan, a popular village five miles east-by-north of 
Newcastle. It appears that the residents in this district were at 
one period, and that too not far distant, not very celebrated 
for their equestrianship. 

The Wise Folks o' Lokbottle. 

The following anecdote would lead one to suppose that the 
good folks of Lorbottle, a small hamlet near Rothbury, held 
ideas very different from those of the ancients respecting the 
causes of the seasons. In the wittenagemote of that com- 
munity it was agreed that the cuckoo brought on the pleasant 
time of summer, and that if she could be secured within a pin- 
fold the storms of winter might threaten, and snell Boreas 
bluster and howl without, yet the bland zephyr's wing would 
ever fan the fresh young foliage in the groves of Lorbottle. 
One particular plantation to which she was accustomed most to 
repair, it was determined, in the resolutions of the simple 
villagers, to environ with a wall, so as to render her stay 
perpetual, and give her unquiet footsteps rest. The wall was 


reared in haste and anxiety ; but alas ! the vanity of earthly 
hopes, just as the wall was finished and a home prepared the 
ungrateful and capricious bird flew quietly over the top, and 
thus perished the fond hope of Lorbotte being blessed with a 
never-ending summer. 

It is, however, a cherished opinion among the ancients of the 
place, that if the wall had only been raised a little higher the 
darling project would have been achieved, and Lorbottle would 
have become a paradise on earth. [This is taken from my 
paper in llichardson's Table-Book, Leg. Div., iii., pp. 94, 95. 
See also Folk-Lore Record, ii., p. 65.] 

The Keaves o' Lorbottle (i. e. Coves op Lorbottle). 

[The natives of this district are proverbial for their big, shape- 
less feet, out-heels [laverock-heels], and turned-in toes. — 
J. H.] 

Like the Laird o' Butterburn. 

Ye're like the Laird o' Butterburn — whatever is, is right. 

— Old Northumberland Saying. 

The Laird of Butterburn, unlike a great many country lairds, 
some eighty or ninety years ago, was a great reader and quoter 
of Pope, to the no small annoyance of his fellow lairds, who, 
happy in their own ignorance, were content to get drunk six 
times a week, without being bored to death with things so much 
out of their road. It happened, however, that on a certain 
market night, as the laird himself was returning home, like 
Hobbie Elliot's father, '' wi' the maut a wee aboun the meal," 
he by some means tumbled from his horse into a deep ditch 
nearly full of water. The cries of the poor laird for help at last 
attracted one of his neighbours, who was returning home in 
ynuch the same situation. " Halloo ! what's up now ? " hiccuped 


out the neighbour. " Oh ! lend me a hand, and help me out ! " 
cried poor Butterburn. " Oh, no ! " replied his heedless 
acquaintance, turning away his horse's head, *' tumble away— = 
whatever is, is right ! " 


In Pinkey's Cletigh a battle shall be fought, and a -widow's son, with 
two thumbs on his right hand, shall hold the king's horse, until 
England is twice lost and thrice won. 

The above, with some other choice morceaux of like character, 
which appear in the present volume, was in the most kindly 
manner handed to me by a valued correspondent ; and, although 
he designates it as a ridiculous fable, yet he says, " I can assure 
you it is firmly believed in by a great many in that part of the 
county. A good many years ago a child was born in that 
neighbourhood with two thumbs on his right hand, and is still 
living. I have frequently seen him ; his name is Nixon. On 
this occurrence taking place, the whole of the population of the 
district felt assured that the prophecy was on the eve of fulfil- 
ment; but," he quaintly observes in conclusion, '^ it has not yet 
taken place." See a similar prophecy, Chambers's Pop. Rhymes^ 
Scot, 3rd ed., 15, 16. 

Pinkey's Cleugh is about six miles west of Haltwhistle, not 
far from Hartley Burn. 

[Pinken Cluch is the old name of the battle of Pinkie, in the 
prophecies of Thomas the Rymer : 

At Pinken Cinch there shall be spilt 
Much gentle blood that day. 

There are a variety of prophecies about this " three-thoomit 
wicht " ascribed to '' True Thomas,"— J. H.] 



This saying, which is common in tlie wliole district of South 
Tyne, originated in 1715. It appears that Manghan, the then 
owner and occupier of WhinetJey, a farmstead (near Haydon 
Bridge) in the parish of Warden, had joined the rebels under 
the command of the unfortunate Earl of Derwentwater, and 
after the surrender of the Jacobite party at Preston contrived to 
make good his escape. On the second day after his return homo 
two armed men entered his house and told him he was their 
prisoner. " Never ! " exclaimed the laird, " while a drop of 
blood warms my body ! " then seizing the huge kitchen poker 
he felled them both upon the floor. He then immediately 
saddled his horse and galloping off succeeded in making his 
escape into France. The estate of Whinetley is still in the 
possession of his descendants. 

By my Faith, but ye're welcome, quoth Dicky o' 


Dicky of Kingswood, or Cunning Dick, as he was more 
generally called (who lived in Staward Peel), was a noted 
Northumbrian reiver, and entertained an opinion that takirig 
life was unnecessary iii' plundering, except to those unacquainted 
with their art. Many tales are told of Dick's prowess in this 
department. The following exploit gave birth to the above 
saying. Happening one evening to call at a country inn, he 
found a number of farmers enjoying themselves over their cups. 
Their horses, a dozen in number, were in the stable at the back 
part of the house ; this Dicky had previously ascertained, and 
he placed his own brood mare along with them. After con- 
tinuing some short time at the inn he mounted his own grey 


mare, Meggy, left tlie stable door open, and had not proceeded 
far on his homeward journey ere he discovered the whole of the 
horses in full gallop after him — " By my faith, but ye're welcome," 
cried Dicky — and the lucky thief got off clear with his booty. 

To make the story more clear, it may be necessary to note 
that the farmers' horses were what in common parlance we term 
stallions, and this happening in the " spring time of the year," 
there was small need of a helping hand to unloose them. 

For further exploits performed by this individual, see Local 
Hist. Tab. Booh, Leg. Div. ii., pp. 17, 18, 19. 

[From the style, this and the preceding appear to be con- 
tributed by William Pattison, formerly of Bishopwearmouth 
and Wolsingham. — J. H.] 

Here lietli Martin Elphinston, 
Who with his sword did cut in sun- 
• der the daughter of Sir Harry Crispe, 

who did his daughter marry. 
She was fat and fulsome, 
But men will some- 
times eat the bacon with the bean, 
And love the fat as well as the lean. 

An epitaph said to be at Alnwick, but I could never see or 
hear tell of it. 

He's driving his swine to Mokpeth Market. 

Spoken of a person who is not only enjoying a nap, but a 
hearty good snore to boot. 

Bright Star op Heaton. 
This well-favoured epithet was used when speaking of 


Matthew Ridley, of Heaton, Esq. He died in the year 1778, 
aged 66 years, and has a monument to his memory in the 
church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Heaton Hall, in 
the parish of All Saints, is the mansion of the Ridley family. 

Bright star of Heaton, 
You're aye oiir darling sweet one ; 
May heaven's blessing light on 
Your lady, bairns, and you. 

Local Song. 

The Ridley family have long held a prominent position in the 
favour of the good men of Newcastle ; high, low, rich, and poor 
all speak in their praise. Sir Matthew Ridley, baronet, grandson 
of the above patriotic gentlemen, was popularly called "canny Sir 
]\Iatthev»'," and the never-ceasing prayer of Blind Willie, the 
Newcastle minstrel, was "Sir MafFa ! Sir MafFa! canny Sir 
Maifa!^^ "God bless Sir Maffa!" "Bra Sir MaflPa" was 
another of Willie's frequently occurring forms or casts ^of 
language. The designation of " Bright Star," &c., was also 
given to Sir Matthew, grandfather of the late baronet, and I 
have been told by a gentleman still living that he had seen a 
fishwoman take up her apron, rub her mouth, get him in her 
arms, and kiss him. He was a gay, open-hearted, kind man. 

There's three bonny laddies live at the Cra' ha', 
There's Mickey, and Mattey, an' Tomniy an a' ; 
Its weary shearing at the Cra' ha'. 
The days are sae lang, an' the wages sae sma'. 

A correspondent informs me that this rhyme is peculiar to 
Crawhall, in the parish of Haltwhistle. I find that in the reign 
of Edward VI. this sirname was spelt Crawhaughe, and it is so 
pronounced to this day throughout the county. 


Jimmy the Moudy 
Maad a great crowdy. 
Barny 0' Neal, 
Fand all the meal : 
Oad Jack Rutter 
Sent twee steane o' butter : 
The laird o' the Hot 
Boild it in his pot : 
And Big Tom o' the Ho', 
He supped it o'. 

Deil tak his guts, and that o' ! 

This rude specimen of border versification is said to allude to 
a choice few of the old lairds and landlords of Haltwhistle, who, 
in their day and generation, were famous not only for their good 
eating, but also for their good drinking. 

When Mr. Hutton, the historian (of Birmingham and Derby), 
was in Cumberland in 1801, he stopped one night at a wayside 
inn, known by the name of Twice Brewed, where he says he 
saw a pudding turned out of the pot about the size of a " peck 
measure, and a piece of beef out of the copper, perhaps, equal to 
half a calf." This was for the supper of some fifteen carriers ; 
and the provision proved none too large. 

The Morpeth Butoheks' Welcome. 

A story is told of a batch of these worthies who, after having 
dined on beefsteaks almost to repletion, invited a bystander to 
sit down to the residue, saying: "You're vary welcome, sae eat 
your full ; there's mair nor we can eat." 

[Perhaps " the Morpeth compliment" of James Service.] 


A name popularly given to the crystals occasionally found 


near Dunstanborough Castle, on the coast, and applied pro- 
verbially to young damsels in that locality. 

The Gowks o' Davy-Shikld. 

Davy-Shield, a district to the north of Otterbourne. Robert 
Roxby, the Reedwater Minstrel, has 

Nor shall he pass the Seven Oaks, 

The Hawk-gill and the Howks, 
The Swine-hole fam'd for " ruthless pikes," 

And Davy Shiel for gowks. 

[The cuckoo is intended. — J. H.] 

The auld wives o' the Lee, 
They canna weel see. 
They tak up the bed clothes 
And [lie] in the stree. 

Spoken of the good wives of St. John Lee, a parish in the 
liberty of Hexhamshire. The second word in the last line is 
generally spoken variously. 

Let us dearly them hold to mynde their worthynesse 
That which our parents old hath left us to possesse. 

The above verses are given over the arms of the ancient 
family of Forster of Etherstone, now Adderstone, in the parish 
of Bambrough. Vide Visitation of JS^orihumherland, 1575. A 
version of this rhyme occurs on an old house at Alnwick. 


V. '' Has ridden," &c. 

The " Gout of Keeldar " was a powerful chief in the district 
wherein the Keildar Castle is situated adjacent to Cumberland. 
He was the redoubtable enemy of Lord Soulis, and perished in 


an encounter on the banks of the Hermitage. Being encased 
in armour he received no hurt in battle, but falling in retreat- 
ing across the stream, his opponents, to their everlasting dis- 
grace be it written, held him beneatli the water till lie was 
drowned. That portion of the river where he perished is to 
this day known as the Cout of Keeldar's Pool. A grave, too, 
of gigantic size on the banks of the Hermitage, at the western 
angle of a wall surrounding the cemetery garth of a ruined 
chapel, is pointed out as that of the Chief of Keeldar. 

The Keeldar Stone, wliicli no doubt received its name from 
being the gathering place of the retainers of this powerful 
northern chieftain, when on the eve of a foray with Scotland, is 
still pointed out, and forms at this period a boundary mark on 
the confines of Northumberland and Jed Forest. It is a rougli 
insulated mass of considerable dimensions, and it is held 
unlucky to ride or walk withershins three times round it. See 
Leyden's ballad, " The Cout of Keeldar," Scott, Bord. Mins., 
iii. 288, Edin. 1821. Withershins, i.e. contrary to the course 
of the sun. 

The little priest o' Felton, 

The little priest o' Felton, 

He kill't a mouse within his house, 

Wi' niver a one to helj) liira. 

Being ignorant that this old rhyme is claimed eidier by 
Herefordshire, Somersetshire, or Shropshire, 1 am (although 
without the sh"ghtest authority) induced to give our northern 
village the benefit of all the honours arising from the truly 
heroic, though not bloodless, exploit of the little warlike vicar 
of the olden time. 

Tom ilka Day. 
An honourable appellation bestowed on one of the ancestors 


of tlie family of Burrell of Broome Park. The name implied 
that he was ready, aye ready ! to turn out against the Scottish 
thieves who honoured Xorthumberland with so many of their 
visits in the good old times. See Surtees's History of Durham, 
i., p. 166, [A very different explanation of the phrase is given 
elsewhere. Tom himself was the thief.] 


[Mr. Cresswell, of Cresswell, gave the fisherman on his estate 
a feast on the occasion of his entering upon his property 
(perhaps his coming of age). He inquired of one of them wdiat 
was his religion, the answer to which was, " I'se a true-bred 
Xorthumberland. " There is a parallelism which is said to have 
been uttered by a tenant of a late Duke of Northumberland as 
to his political creed, but I forget the expression. — J. H.] 

Brunt and scadded, like the Fairies o' Rothley. 

At Rothley Mill there was a kiln for drying oatmeal, which 
the fairies used to visit every night to make porridge. The 
miller's lad one evening thought he would gar them loup, and 
looking in at the top of the kiln and seeing them sitting round 
their caldron stirring the porridge, he took up a stone, and 
throwing it into the pot, the porridge flew about. The fairies 
all jumped up, and every one of them crying " Brunt and 
scadded ! Brunt and scadded ! " ran after the lad and over- 
took him just as he reached a stile between the mill and 
Kothley ; when one of them gave him a blow on the back, and 
from that time he always went lame. [See another version in 
Hodgson's History of Nortliumberland.~\ 

Soft in her side like the lasses o' Beli'ord. 

From the above it would appear that the lasses of Belford arc 
proverbial for a soft spot ; a term much used in the North of 
England and figurative of intellectual weakness. 


Sixpenny Jenny. 

" The father of Robert Surtees (Robin of Ryton), was the 
first who raised the family from poverty, by making a remark- 
able bargain ; for, being merry in company, where a ycung 
woman of great fortune was with her lover, one of the company 
drank to the lover's best thoughts, who answered he had none, 
not even for his mistress, any one being welcome to his interest 
with her for sixpence ; this Edward Surtees, the father, gave 
him. She resenting the usage, refused her lover and married 
Surtees, and the wife got the name of Sixpenny Jenny to her 
death." Mem. of Robert Surtees, Esq., 1852, p. 391. 

Geordie Black-dodp. 

The familiar name of " an eminent freebooter in North 
Reedsdale ; " it was acquired thus : Being with a party hotly 
pursued by those that they had plundered, it was agreed to 
disperse; but Geordie was lame, and could go no further ; and 
notwithstanding his friend's remonstrance that his face was so 
well known he would never escape if taken, declared his 
intention to stay where he was ; "an they ken my face, they 
dinna ken my doup ; " and accordingly squatting down in a plot 
of rushes with his bare doup alone visible, he escaped unnoticed, 
and returned safe home. Mem. of Robert Surtees, p. 89. 


This saying is not so frequently heard as formerly — probably 
on account of a degree of coarseness involved in its explanation. 
Whoever Meggy was, I know not, but her mistake was a 
comical one. i 

Harper's or Piper's Warning. 

This was a warning somewhat similar to that of Scarborough, 


to wit, none at all. In the parish of Lambley, in Tindale Ward, 
is a hamlet comprised of a few cottages called Harper Town, 
which according to the indisputable evidence of extensive 
remains of ancient buildings, was once a village, at least, if not 
a town of considerable consequence ; and which tradition says 
was totally ruinated by the continuous desolating raids and 
burnings of the freebooting Scots. 


A cry of triumph, partaking of the nature of a slogan or 
freebooting cry ; it is also the name of a popular Border tune. 
When Will Allan, the piper, was on his death bed, he was 
admonished by his pious neighbours of the awful consequences 
of dying unprejDared, with all his sins upon his head; " Pshaw," 
quoth he, in a peevish manner, '' Hand me my pipes, and I'll 
gie ye ' Dorrington Lads Yet.' " In local parlance Doddington 
is pronounced Dorrington ; so also across the border is Had- 
dington called Harrington. — [J. H. in part.] 

The folks of Chatton say the cheese of Chatton is better than the 
cheese of Cbillingham ; but the cheese of Chatton's nee mair like 
the cheese of Cbillingham than chalk's like cheese.* 

This gird upon the folks of Chatton and Chillingham, to be 
read or spoken aright, must be pronounced in the dialect of 
these districts (which, it appears, is a sort of broken English, 
similar, in some respects, to the Welsh pronunciation of our 
tongue) more particularly as regards the words beginning with 
ch, which must be given Shatton, Sheese, etc. Another read- 
ing of this border Shibboleth begins: — " There's as good cheese 
in Chillingham as ever Chafts chowed ; " and then I have also 
met with a third version adapted to Chooslie in Berwickshire. 

[Partly by J. H.] 

* Ray, in his Proverbs, has " No more like chalk than cheese." 


[To this may now be added another variety from Berwick- 
shire : " There's as goo^l cheese in Shirsit (Chirnside) as ever 
was chowed wi' chafts, and the cheese o' Chouslie, &c." Of a 
parish minister in Berwickshire, his parishioners said for his 
credit, using the same sh for ch: "We a' like Mr. Chalmers 
o' Mordington, because he's sae cheery and chattie wi' the 
childer." There is still another fling at the quiet Northumbrian 
villagers : " The children o' Chillingham gied (gave) to the 
children o' Chatton a chair to sit on." In 1559, Sir Ralph 
Grey dates a letter from '^ Shillingham," which shews that the 
popular pronunciation of this word was then prevalent in high 
places. — Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papers and Letters^ vol. i., 
p. 594.— J. H.] 

Haud Yows. 

A bye-name used in North and South Tyne by a certain 
portion of the natives against their brethren of the hills, the 
sheep farmers, on those wild and dreary fells. Qy. Does it not 
bear the English translation of Old Ewes ? the word " awde " 
being strongly aspirated in the text. [In Berwickshire the 
local name " Haud Ya;ids " was applied to a portion of Colding- 
ham Moor, where old horses were turned out to graze. Jamie - 
son gives to " Haud, hold, to preserve for stock," applied to 
cattle. *' A haudin' cawf," one not fed for sale, but kept that 
it may grow to maturity. — J.H.] 

Here's to you my master Frank, 
Flower of the flock and head of the rank ; 
But when you are dead and gone, 
Here's to you my master John. 

[The toast of Willie Smith, or, as he was popularly called, 
Lang Wull Smith, a haveril tyke kept by the family of Seaton 
Delaval, as a fool. — J.H.] 



Wake i' the gate, Wake i' the yett, 

Wake i' the tower, an' Wake i' the smidtly door, 

Eed-headed Kalph. * * * 

[The primitive natives of North Sunderland were very clannish, 
and from frequent intermarriages, man}'' of them bore the 
family and baptismal name. Some of these appear to have 
been recorded in local rhymes, a fragmentary specimen of which 
verses appears above. — J. H.] 

Pray God send us a Gtood Harvest this Wikter. 

Not many years are past since this prayer was pretty gene- 
rally expressed by the wreckers on the coast, and I fear that 
we of the Bishopric were not innocent of its use. In 1473, a 
vessel, the Salvator, belonging to Kennedy, Bishop of St. 
Andrews, was wrecked at Bamburgh, when the cargo was 
plundered, and the crew made prisoners by the people of the 
county. — Pict. Hist. Eng. ii. 184. 'Tis more than hinted that 
the spirit of wrecking haunted the coast of Northumberland in 
January, 1854. — [Partly by J. H.J 

[July 30th, 1678, one of the gentlemen of the county was 
accused of being a wrecker, before Ralph Jenison, Esq., at 
Elswick. " William Berry and Thomas Bowman say that on 
Saturday, the 10th of November last, betwixt two and three of 
the clocke in the morning, the good ship or barke called the 
Margarett of Leath, wherof John Finley was then maister, 
came on shoare at Seaton seas, at the port of Blyth's nuke. 
And they being in danger to be lost, and the shipp in dainger 
to be suncke or broke, the passengers being afraid of their lives, 
being a dossin or sixteene in number, would not stay aboard the 
said shipp, but were set ashoare. And before the shipp's com- 
pany could returne againe to there shipp, one William Creswell 
of Creswell, gent., and John Boult and William Curry, booth 


of Bediinton, came aboard the said shipp, and brooke open the 
doores and hatches, and went downe into the hould ; and did 
likewise breake open severall trunkes and boxes, and tooke 
away severall goods, which these deponents doe conceive to be 
worth at least 200^." — Depositions, &c.,from York Castle, p. 229 
(Surtees Soc). — J. H.] 

1. The Pea Kytes o' Coquet. 

2. The sheakle-meakers o' the Woodside. 

These two sayings are mutually used as terms of reproach, 
and the following observations will illustrate their origin. That 
portion of the valley of Coquet adjacent to Woodside is agri- 
cultural, whilst the other is almost exclusively pastoral. The 
vale of Woodside abounds in natural wood, and the facility with 
which it is obtained has induced the custom of twisting birch 
twigs in a peculiar manner, to serve instead of hempen bands 
for the purpose of tying up cattle. These are called '^ sheakles '"' 
(shackles) ; hence the expression. — [Thomas Arkle, Carrick, 

The Clegs o' Lisleburx. 

The Lisle is a small brook in the parish of Corsenside. The 
Cleg* is a small grey insect, very common in the months 
of June and July. It is remarkable for the keenness of its 
bite. There is small doubt that every district in England will 
furnish certain specimens of natural history of the genus homo, 
as well deserving of the allusion as the calumniated people of 
the pleasant vale of the Lisle. — [Thomas Arkle.] 

* Cleg, Haematopota pluvialis, L. 
T 2 



1. A Shaftoe ! a Shaftoe ! ! see " Slogans of tlic Noitli of England," 

pp. 17, 18, 19. 

2. A Tindall ! a Tindall ! ! 

3. Tynedale to it ! lb. 20, 21, 22. 

4. A Thirlvvall ! a Thirlewall ! ! a Thirlewall ! ! ! lb. 26. 

5. A Berwick ! a Berwick ! ! lb. 30. 

6. A Bulmer ! a Bulmer ! ! lb. 36. 

7. Hastings ! (?) the Heron Slogan, lb. 36, 37. 

The Slogans and War Cries of the Percy and Fenwick have 
been already noticed. 



The moss-troopers' motto. 

A Marciiman, 

An inhabitant of the marches, limits or Borders, adjoining 
upon Scotland. The margins of the two kingdoms were called 
the Debateable Lands and considered as enemies' countries. 
There were March Laws and March Courts of Judicature, of 
which the Lords Wardens of the Marches were supreme judges. 

Sir Henry Percy laye at the Newe Castelle, 

I telle you witliouten drede ; 
He had byn a March man all his dayes, 

And kept Barwyke npou Twede. 

Hot Trod; or Hot Foot. {See p. 241.) 


Moss-Troopers. (See p. 95.) 
Saufey Money. (See p. 102.) 

The Rush Bush keeps the Cow. 

Occasionally the English and Scottish Borders enjoyed periods 
of peaceful repose ; and then it was that the inhabitants could 
retire to rest leaving no other keepers to guard their castle than 
the rush bush. These periods only came rarely, and after 
examples of extreme severity on the part of the lord warden, 
and the county keepers. The vow, that the rush bush should 
guard the cow, was uttered by Lord William Howard, on his 
appointment as a Border Commissioner. It did not originate 
with him. 

A Warden Haid, or Road. 
An inroad commanded by the warden in person. 

" And by my faith ! '' the gate ward said, 
" I think 'twill prove a warden raid." 

Lai/ of the Last Minstrel, c. iv., s. iv. 

In the Border Laws of Queen Elizabeth, 1596, it is ordered, 
" That no warden or keeper ride hereafter in person, or direct 
any to ride hereafter by his commandment, or causing, in 
hostile manner within the opposite realm, without a special 
command first had thereto from the prince, under his hand and 
seal, under the pain to be accounted a public enemy of the 
peace ; and whosoever shall accompany him to any such un- 
lawful Act, or ride at his command in manner aforesaid, shall 
lose for ever all manner of redress on any offence done to them 
before the date of the said raid and nevertheless shall satisfy 
the party grieved for skaith and damage, according to the laws 
of the March." 



1. Hexham, the heart of all England. 

A fuller and more correct version gives the following 
reading : — 

2. Hexham, the heart of all England, with a fortnight fair every 
week, and a market day on the Tuesday. 

3. Hexham Hopenny. 

A bye- word of undoubted antiquity. Hopenny, i.e. half- 
penny. This saying is well illustrated by the following gird on 
the natives of that ancient town: "A haporth o' soat, and a 
hoppeny back and there^s o cocer* to put it on." 

Both these sayings are, no doubt, used as sneers at the 
vulgar dialect cf Hexham. Hopenny is the common way of 
naming the coin ; though of late, it has in some measure 
yielded to the more correct pronunciation. 

4. Hexham measure ; up heaped, pressed down, and running over. 

Some of the dry measures used at Hexham do not correspond 
with those of the same name in general use in the north of 
England. Thus, what is called a boll of corn in Hexham 
market contains four Winchester bushels ; the customary 
number in other places being only two. When the fact is 
known, the inconvenience is not verv creat 

* s 



5. He comes fra' Hexham Green, and that's ten miles ayont Hell. 

There is a well-known spot near Hexham, called Tyne Green, 
where, till within these few years, the fairs used to be held. 
This saying is, I am glad to observe, now rarely heard in the 
north. There is a parallel saying belonging to the midland 
counties which celebrates a certain cave, near Castleton, in the 
district of the Peak, Derbyshire. Both proverbs are spoken of 
pej"sons whose place of birth' and former residence are alike 
unknown to the party questioned. 

6. Every one for their ain hand, like the pipers o' Hexham. 

Down to a comparatively recent period, a piper was attached 
to every Border town of note (more particularly in Scotland). 
The office was in general considered to be hereditary. About 
the commencement of spring and the close of harvest, it was 
the custom of these migratory musicians, who were nearly the 
sole depositories of all the oral, musical, and poetical traditions 
of the north, to make a progress through a certain district, 
beyond which they must not pass, in respect of the rights and 
privileges of their brethren. Their simple but stirring tales, or 
a historic or love ballad, sung to the accompaniment of the 
Northumbrian pipes invariably was considered as a sufficient 
recompense both for bed and board. To pipe for one's own 
hand, is, I take it, to pipe for any party who will employ one, 
whether they be friend or foe. Or, in other words, to pipe for 
those who pay best. 

7. Hexham, where they knee-band lops,* and put spectacles upon 
blind spiders. 

A derisive proverb occasionally applied to other places. For 
these alleged preposterous practices I can in no way account. 

* Fleas. 


8. Silly-good-natured, like a Hexham goose ; bid him sit down, 
and he will lie down. 

A well-mouthed proverb, which I take to be a now forgotten 
pun on the ancient name of the town, Ha-Gus-tald. 

9. A Hexham goose. 

Natives of Hexham are so called collectively, without distinc- 
tion of sex. A native writes me : By this I am reminded of what 
I have often heard and in my boyhood I have often bawled in 
the streets during a heavy fall of snow-flakes, " The country 
gowks are plucking their geese and sending the feathers to 
Hexham.*' — [At Newcastle they say : " The keelmen are 
plotting their geese."] 

10. He's getten up the lang stairs. 

A Hexham saying parallel with that of Newcastle : Hc^s 
getten into limbo, up the 19 steps, i.e. into prison. 

11. Hexham famed for glovers and hatters. 

The former item of celebrity in a great measure still exists, 
the latter I fear has vanished. 

. 12. A Hexham sixpence-worth. 

A purchase composed of the following articles : A penny- 
worth o' tay, an' a pennyworth o' shugar, three penny loaves, 
an' a pennyworth o' butter, an' a pennyworth o' hey (he) 
herrina:, for mv mother likes melts best. 

Although the reader on casting the soveral sums of this pur- 
chase together will find it amount to a somewhat larger sum, it 
is proverbially known as the Hexham sixpenny-worth. 


13. Go to Hexham. 

A Newcastle malediction. ' 

[Go to Hexhambirnie is a saying well known at Kelso when 
one is annoyed by any one teasing him. In Hislop's Scottish 
Proverbs it is Hexclbirnie.] 

14. The Fray Bell. 

That is the Foray Bell. There was previous to 1742 at Hex- 
ham Abbey Church a bell so called. It weighed 7,000 lbs., 
and its sound was heard to an immense distance. It was recast 
in the above year. In troublous times it was used to give the 
inhabitants of that now peaceful and beautiful district notice of 
the approach of the Scots, or equally rapacious Redesdale and 
North Tynedale freebooters, when on foray, or fray as it was 
more generally called. This bell was broken at the marriage of 
Will. Blackett, Esq., with the Hon. Lady Barbara Villiers. 

We still retain the latter word in the proverb, " 'Tis better to 
be at the end of a feast, than at the beginning of a fray." 

[The words foray and fray have no necessary connection, 
except that a foray would probably end in a fray.] 


1. The good town o' Berwick. 

In several MS. documents of the olden time, the town of 
Bersvick is so designated ; but I simply take it to be a mere 
compliment parallel with the phrase, " The good men of 
Newcastle." It is also called " Her Majesty's Good Town of 


2. M. semel et C ter, semel X, serael V, dabis I ter ; 
Capto Bervico, sit laus et gloria Christo. 

— Fordun, I. xii,, cxxxvii. 

The taking of the good town of Berwick was recorded by 
some Scottish monk in the above rhymes. 

3. The middle arch of Berwick Bridge is at one end. 

This is a genuine English bull which I have been told 
strangers are often guilty of using. In truth the loftiest and 
widest arch (which is the middle one in almost all bridges) is, if 
my memory serves me, the second from the north, the gross 
number being fifteen. This bridge was built by Mr. James 
Burrell and Lancelot Branxton ; and is said to have been twenty- 
four years four months and four days in building. It was 
finished on the 24th of Oct., 1634.* An old traveller who 
visited the north of England in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century says, when writing cf Berwick, it hath " a fair and 
stately stone bridge, built at the charge of the late famous, pious, 
prudent, and for ever memorable prince and monarch, James, 
King of Great Britaine," etc. This edifice measures 1,164 feet 
in length and 17 in width. Towards its cost Parliament gave 
the sum of £14,960 Is. 6d. 

4. The burghers o' Berwick get warm rolls and butter ev^ry morning 
to their breakfast.f 

The above saying has evidently been invented as an exercise 
of the organs of speech of the natives, who, on account of the 

* The bridge was opened for traffic at latest in 1G25, and the 
accounts for repairs were in 1634 transferred from the rojal to local 
accounts. — J. S. 

t From] Chambers's Poji. Rhymes, &c., p. 157. 


burr or cinder in their throat, will no doubt feel extreme 
difficulty in articulating the words which compose the 

[It was the custom for the mayor's Serjeants to breakfast in 
the mayor's house, and for breakfast they had cold beef, ale, 
and rolls. Whether there is any allusion to this in the saying 
or not I cannot say. The custom is now abolished. Or the 
saying may have allusion to the freemen by those who were 
employed in keeping up the interest of the M.P.'s, or of those 
who intended to become candidates for that honour. But this, 
however, is mere guess-work. — G. J.]* 

5. From Berwick to Dover, 
Three hundred miles over. 

Parallel with the Scripture expression — " from Dan to Beer- 

6. The sow has farrowed. 

The siege of Berwick, under Edward II., commenced on the 
1st September, 1319. On the thirteenth day a general assault 
was begun, wherein the English employed a great machine 
called a sow, constructed for holding and defending men, who 
were moved in it towards the foot of the wall, in order to under- 
mine and sap its foundation. Devices were used to burn it, but 
by throwing a stone of enormous weight from an engine, the 
sow was split and her occupants dislodged. This incident gave 
rise to the above saying, which is still occasionally heard in 
Berwickshire and Northumberland when any apparently deep- 
laid scheme ends in something even less substantial than smoke. 
A similar story is told in connection with the siege of Dunbar 
Castle, defended by Black Agnes against the Earl of Salisbury, 

* Dr. George Johnston, the eminent naturalist. 


7. I am a Brigg, as Travellers weel do ken, 
For English, Scottish, and all other men. 

A rhyme said to be inscribed upon the bridge of Berwick- 
upon-Tweed ; but the truth is it must only be supposed to exist. 
Still it is worthy of preservation. 

8. What weyns King Edward, with his long shankes, 
To have wonne Berwick all our unthankes ? 
Gaas pykes hym, 
And when he hath it 
Gaas dykes him. 

Some printed copies read '' gas " in place of " gaas." 
In the year 1297, while Edward I. was besieging Berwick, 
the Scots made the above rhymes upon him, as saith Fabyan. 
However, the Scots were beaten in this instance, both with 
sword and song. Berwick was soon taken, and shortly after 
they suffered a signal discomfiture at Dunbar. ''Wherefore 
ye English menne in reproache of the Scots made this rime 
followino; : — 

These scatterand Scottes, 
Hold we for sottes 

Of wrenches unware ; 
Erly in a mornyng, 
In an eivil timyng. 

Came thei to Dunbar." 

Wrighfs Essai/s, vol. ii. p. 261. 

The Arundel and Fairfax MSS. give somewhat various 
readings of the latter rhymes. [For other versions of these 
rhymes, see Ritson's Essay on Scottish Song, pp. xxv. and 


9. Berwick, the key of England on the east sea. 

Carlisle, on the west sea, is also so termed. Mr. Dibclln, in 
his Northern Tour, vol. ii. p. 394, remarks : — " The governor 
of Berwick Castle in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth 
centuries might be said to wear the keys of Scotland in his 


10. There's a lang bridge at Berwick, 
A church without a steeple,* 
A dunghill before every door, 
And very deceitful people. 

Great truths are chronicled in the first two verses of these 
rhymes ; but as regards the others, for the credit of the town 
and people, I hope, in the present day and generation, they 
are inapplicable. One disagreeable nuisance, however, remained 
at Berwick till within the last ten years or so, to wit, the 
butchers' slaughter-houses, which, being situated in a central 
and elevated part of the town, sent forth their filth and putrid 
exhalations down several streets, to the great annoyance of the 
more cleanly portion of the inhabitants. 

At the meeting of Guardians, Berwick Union, Xovember 12, 
1860, Mr. George Smith said, " He remembered about forty 
years ago, when be used to come to school at Berwick, there 
was an old song which his schoolmaster used to sing which ran 

thus : — 

Berwick is a dirty town, 

A church without a steeple. 
There's a midden at every door, 
God curse all the people ! 

There is no such thing as a midden at every door now ; by 
the Health of Towns Act the blessing of cleanliness has been 
bestowed on the town. — Berwick Advertiser, Ifoveinberl7tJi, 1860. 

* The church-going people are suramonod to divine service by bells, 
eight in number, which are hung in the Town Hall. 


In tlie Berwick Advertiser, November 24tli, 1860, " An 
older man than Mr. Smith " gives what he considers the correct 
version : 

Berwick is an ancient town, 

A church without a steeple. 
A pretty girl at every door, 
/ And very generous people. ' 

J. H. 

[The " Church without a steeple," is introduced into a 
curious piece of doggrel inscribed on a tombstone in the church- 
yard at Berwick. The sculptor's name was Jackson, as well as 
those he commemorates. The stone was erected in 1802.] 

The peaceful mansions of the dead 

Are scattered far and near ; 
But by the stones o'er this yard spread, 

Seem numerously here. 
A relative far from his home 

Mindful! of men so just, 
Reveres this spot, inscribes the tomb, 

And in his God doth trust 
That he shall pass a righteous life, 

Live long for sake of Seven, 
Return in safety to his wife 

And meet them both in heaven. 
God bless the souls departed hence. 

This church without a steeple; 
The king, the clergy, and the good sense 

Of all the Berwick people. 

There is another version of the rhyme, and Robert Burns 
was reputed to be its author. When he visited Berwick he 
formed a very indifferent opinion of the town and its inhabitants j 


and scratched the following lines upon a pane in the window of 
the place where he stayed : 

Berwick is a dirty place. 

Has a church jvithout a steeple, 
A middenstead at every door, 

And a — — deceitful people."* 

11. Once going through Berwick maketh not a man of war. 
[Var. a soldier,] 

This aphorism evidently alludes to that unhappy period when 
we, either privately or publicly, were plunged in one continuous 
and savage warfare w^ith our neighbours the Scots. 

12. The no-nation town of Berwick. 

In the reign of Edward the Sixth, this Border town was, by 
Act of Parliament, made a town and county of itself, indepen- 
dent of both states. 

At the siege of Berwick by King Edward the First, Matt, 
of Westminster says, sixty thousand were slain, and Fordun, 
another old historian, says that the streets ran with blood for 
two days, and that the mills w^ere actually set agoing with the 
blood of the slain. At a later siege, 1405, "Walsingham says, 
that cannon were used for the first time. In the time of 
Richard III. of England and James III. of Scotland, the 
disputed Border grounds were agreed upon to be left unculti- 
vated, unbuilt upon, and untilled. 

13. Berwick upon Tweed, 

Newcastle upon Tyne : 
Alnwick for wliite bread, f 
Morpeth for swine. 

* Border Treasury, p. 286 • f Pronounced breed. 


These rhymes also occur witli the following variorum readings 
of the two verses : — 

14. Eyemoutli for a bonny lass, 

And Coldingham for swine. 

A third reading gives : — 

15. Spiltal for cuddies (asses), 

And Tweedmouth for swine. 
J. H. 

16. A Berwick burgess speaks wi' a bunch o' bear-awns in his 

By no means a bad alliterative saying, bearing on the burr 
of the burgers of Berwick. 

Bear. An inferior kind of barley. Qy. Hence the name of 
the beverage brewed therefrom. 

Hause. The throat ; also the neck. The ancient spelling of 
this word is hals. A hals-col, is a steel gorget to protect the 
neck of the wearer. 

17. Berwick burr. 

The good folks of Berwick " owing to some occult cause," as 
funny old Fuller expresses it, "have a wharling in their throats, 
so that they cannot pronounce the letter R." 

18. From Berwick to "Ware. 

A proverbial phrase to be met with in Chaucer's Canterbury 
Tales. [Pardonere,] 

19. If a Berwick lad and lass, 

Gang together by the Steps o' Grace, 
Tlicy'll sup wi' the priest o' Lamberton. 

The Steps of Grace is, I am informed, a farm-place on the 


road from Berwick to Lamberton ; the Gretna Green of the 
Eastern Borders. The priest of Lamberton is [was] generally 
an old shoemaker, broken-down farmer, or an ousted priest — 
frequently a " a deboshed tippling creature " who takes upon 
himself the functions of the priesthood, and reads the English 
marriage service to any party anxious to get wedded in haste — 
generally called Buckle-the- Beggar marriages. 

[The original Steps of Grace were cut in the steep sea banks 
that bounded the farm, to admit of access to the coast.] 

20. Sin' the days o' Gilligacus 

There's been fishers on the Tweed: 

Sin' the Romans came to wrack us, 
And consume our ancient seed, 

A castle strong, has been to back us 
On the tap o' yon brae head. 

" In turning over some old letters, 1 have laid my hands on one 
from an old friend, the late Mr. Alexander A. Carr, author of 
the History of Coldingham Priory, in which he sends me a 
copy of the above rhymes, relating, he says, to the old Castle of 
Berwick. He gives no explanation with it, nor makes any 
commentary thereon, and so you have it as I got it. I suppose 
Gilligacus to be Galgacus. How Mr. Carr got it 1 cannot tell. 
His letter was written in 1834." Private Correspondence, G.H , 
28th September, 1852. [G. H. is the late Mr. George Hender- 
son, surgeon, Chirnside, Berwickshire, a local poet, and author 
of the Popular Rhymes, Sayings, and Proverbs of the County 
of Bencick (Newcastle, 1856), and other writings.] 

22. Berwick Bridge. 

The following characteristic story, in union with this noble 
structure, was kindly communicated just in time to allot it a 
place in the current section: — 




As the story goes, tlie gatekeeper on the bridge receives a 
penny from every Scotsman who crosses over to England ; and 
in return gives half-a-crown to every Scotsman who comes back 
again. {See Rhyme No. 7.) 

I may here remark that it is assumed to be an historical fact 
that no living creature native of the Land o' Cakes is recorded 
to have ever re-sought the country of its birth save and except- 
ing King James's cow. 

Of course both stories are somewhat apocryphal. 

24. Go to Berwick, Johnny. 

The following are the words which remain to us of an old, 
very old song, which gives name to the no doubt equally old, if 
not still older, tune, which is well known and highly popular in 
other places than the town it refers to : — 

Go to Berwick, Johnny, 

Bring her frae the Border ; 
"We'll cry '' Fye upon ye," 

If ye let her further. 
The English loons will twyne 

Ye, of your winsome treasure ; 
And ere ye so her tyne, 

Your sword wi' them I'd measure. 

Go to Berwick, Johnny, 

And redeem your honor ; 
Before the sun rise on ye. 

Shew our Scottish banner. 
I am Rab, the king. 

And ye are Jock, my brither ; 
Or, we brook sic thing 

We'se a be there thegither. 


Go to Berwick, Johnny, 

On yer braid sword bind ye ; 
Wi' a' my graith upon me, 

ril be close behind ye. 
Ye'll ride on the colt 

And I'll ride on the filly; 
Saddle horse and mare, 

And we'll to Berwick, Billy ! 

A portion of this song is given in Johnson's Musical Museum 
It purports to be of the age of Robert II. of Scotland. This is 
inferred from the words, " I am Rab, the King." But this 
might have been said by Robert III. also, yet the urgency and 
spirit of the address would not be in keeping with the character 
of that indolent and uuAvarlike monarch. The last verse was 
written down from the recitation of an old lady aged 99, if not 
100 years. She died a year or two ago. 

In my gatherings of our Northern Nursery Lore is the follow- 
ing quatrain, which is evidently a fragment of the above good 
old border song : — 

Hide away ! Ride away ! 

Ride away to Berwick, Johnnie : 
Ye'll ride on the Brown Colt, 

And I'll ride on the filly. 

It is noted down as a Berwickshire Nursery Rhyme, and a 
reference is given to another version quoted by Ritsou, who 
refers it to Sir William Wallace and Sir John Graham.* 

[* This being of my communication, I shall adduce Ritson's own 
words. ** The editor has heard it gravely asserted, in Edinburgh, 
that a foolish song beginning. 

Go, go, go, go to Berwick, Johny, 

Thou shalt have the horse, and I'll have the pony, 

was actually made upon one of this hero's (Wallace) marauding 

u 2 


Mayhap, some at least of my '' charitable readers " will permit 
me to observe, that the former suggestion approximates closer 
to probability. The wcrd billy, which terminates the song, is 
often met with in our Northern Anthology. Its meaning is, a 
companion, a brother, a young springald ; also, it is used as a 
general term of endearment in connection with the male sex. 

expeditions, and that the person thus addressed was no other tlian 
his Jidus Achates, Sir John Graliam." — Historical Essay on Scottish 
Song, p. xxvi., and in Eitson's Scottish Songs, vol. i. Some one had 
attempted to cram poor Ritson ! The set of the song, given from 
Johnson's Museum, in Whitelaw's Book of Scottish Song, p. 571, 
differs in some respects from Mr. Denham's copy, which is more 
spirited. It is there said to have been partly written by John 
Hamilton, music seller, Edinburgh. There is another juvenile varia- 
tion of the rhyme — 

'■' Raw lads, and bait yauds. 
On wi' creels, and on wi' pads, 
And owre Ross hill to Berwick, Johnnie." 

Bait-yauds are women who gather bait for fishermen. Ross is a 
small fishing hamlet in the parish of Ayton, situated by the coast- 
margin at the foot of a steep bank. — See Henderson's Pojmlar lihymes 
of the County of Berwick, p. 107. — J. H.] 


Section I. — The People. 

1. He has got the Newcastle burr in his throat. 

The inhabitants of Newcastle, Morpeth, and various oliier 


places in the north, have a guttural pronunciation like that 
called in Leicestershire warling, none of them being able to 
pronounce the letter r. The burr is a peculiar whirring sound 
made by the natives of these places in pronouncing, or rather 
endeavouring to pronounce, the above letter, supposed to be 
derived from their Danish ancestors. 

2. Ye're like Tom Tod's pig, it's a' your ain bringing on. 

Tom lived in one of the purlieus of Westgate, and his pig 
having broken down the barriers of the sty was roaming at 
liberty, when a carriage in passing by ran over it and broke 
one of its legs. It roared out mightily, and as soon as its owner 
caught hold of it he exclaimed, " Damn you, make less noise, 
its a' your ain bringing on." 

3. Honour bright, Bet Watt ! 

A protestation of honour often made use of by the common 
people in Newcastle. It originated with and is still retained in 
commemoration of a late well-known Newcastle worthy. 

4. Crankies. 

A proverbial name for pitmen. 

" The Crankies, fan-er back than I knaw, 
Hae gyen to Sizes to see trumpets blaw." 

5. The Drunkard's cloak, or Newcastle cloak. 

The cloak for the drunkard and the branks for the scold were 



two ancient nortli countiy punishments which were often in- 
flicted on those disturbers of the peace in the seventeenth 
century. The common drunkard was led through the town as 
a spectacle of contempt, covered witli a large barrel called a 
Newcastle Cloak, one end being out, and the other having a 
hole through it of sufficient size to allow the offender's head 
to pass through, by which means the barrel rested on the 

6. Muzzle her, muzzle lier, put her in the branks. 

The above is still occasionally repeated, by one or other of the 
" good men of Newcastle," when they chance to hear one of 
their native ladies from the locality of Sandhill or Sandgate 
giving too free scope to her passions by the volubility of her 
tongue and the extent of her voice. The branks was an instru- 
ment formerly kept in the Mayor's Chambers, Newcastle, for 
the punishment of chiding and scolding women, and is still pre- 
served in the Justice Room in the Manors. It is made of iron, 
fastens round the head like a muzzle, and has a spike to insert 
in the mouth, so as effectually to silence the offensive orga i 
within. Mr. Hodgson speaks of the branks as being still 
applied to scolds in his time. — Beauties of England and Wales, 
Mrthd., p 64. 

7. As fine as Forty Poke's wife, who dressed herself with 


I plead guilty to have taken a two-fold liberty with this truly 
elegant Newcastle comparison. 

8. Stands like a Newcastle fishwife. 

A horse-dealer's phrase, touching the peculiar manner in 
which some horses stand with their forelegs. 


9. (1 ) At Westgate cam Thornton in, 

With hap, a halfpenny, and a lamb's skin. 

(2) At the West gate came Thornton in, 
With a hap and a halfpenny in a ram's skin. 

(3) In the West gate came Thornton in, 
With a happen-hap't in a ram's skynn. 

(4) Here did Thornton enter in. 

With hope, a halfpenny, and a lamb's skin. 

(5) With a hopp, a halfepenny, and a lamb's skin. 
At West gate came Hodge Thornton in. 

Stainsby, Arch. yEliana, iii., 119. 

(6) In at the West gate came Thornton in, 

With a hap and halfe-penny and a lambes skin. 

(7) At the West gate cam Thornton in, 

With a hap, a halfpenny, and hapt in a ram-skin. 

Such are the various readings of a whimsical and satirical 
couplet peculiar to north country. 

In the Love Sick King^ by Antliony Brewer, gent., 1665, 
Thornton, the pedlar, is a character, and writes on a tile. 

In connection with these rhymes I may, perhaps, be per- 
mitted to observe, that by omitting the article A in the 2nd, 
3rd, 6th, and 7th readings and translating the word hap by 
luck or fortune, rather than coverlet or blanket, we arrive at a 
more reasonable and rational result. (Qy.) Was not the ram 
or lamb's skin his covering or garment, or rather, perhaps, he 
might be clothed in the customary manner of those belonging to 
his class, and the skin be in the place of his first article of mer- 


chandise? The following English and Scots proverbs prove 
the birth and rise of the word hap in the sense of luck, many 
centuries previous to that of the saying on the Newcastle 
princely merchant : — 

Some have liap, some stick in the gap, 

Nae man can make his ain hap. 

Hap and a halfpenny is world's gear enough. 

[" Good luck and a halfpenny and a lamb's skin," occurs in 
Pinkerton^s Scotland, i., p. 345. — J.H.] 

10. Newcastle hospitality. 

That is, roasting a friend to death, or, according to a more 
popular colloquial phrase, " killing a person with kindness." 
The saying, no doubt, alludes to the ancient drinking customs 
of Newcastle and Northumberland — customs now happily, to 
a great extent, laid aside. In those good old times no one was 
permitted to leave the room until he fell dead drunk under the 
table, or was obliged to be carried out. For further illustra- 
tions of the above follies, see St. James's Magazine, ii., 449. 

1 1 . A quayside shaver. • ^ 

This saying evidently alludes to the ancient practice of 
shaving on the open quay by men and women, which latter, 
curiously enough, appear to have followed the same capacity for 
two hundred years or upwards. Early in the seventeenth 
century we find them accused of letting blood, a procedure 
which raised the ire of barber chirurgeons, who, of course, 
counted all phlebotomy private property. For further illustra- 
tions see Ibid, ii., 413. [But a shaver is a common phrase 

12. She's a Sandhiller. 

Any celebrated female blackguard is so termed in the counties 
of Durham and Yorkshire. I never heard it applied to any other 
than the fair sex. It most evidently has derived its popular exis- 
tence from Sandhill, in Newcastle. Parallel with the above is 
the metropolitan expression, a Billingsgate, which Mr. Grose, 
in his collection of Local Proverbs, says is spoken of those ladies 
who are '* not famous for their politeness of address, delicacy of 
language, or patience and long suffering." Mr. Brockett says 
that the Sandhillcrs and Sandgaters certainly give fine specimens 
of what Quintilian calls canina eloqueniia. 

[Mr. Brockett gives " Sandgate city, a burlesque name for 
Sandgate, Newcastle." '■'' Sandgate-ring, a particular mode of 
lighting a tobacco pipe, which I am unable to describe."] 

Here lies Robin Wallis, 

The prince of good fellows, 

Clerk of AHhallows, 
; ' , ■ And maker of Bellows ; 

He bellows did make to the day of liis death, 

But he that made bellows conld never make breath. 

An epitaph said to have existed in the old church of All 
Hallows, but I don't believe it. 

14. Cock's four canny hinnies. 

They were the daughters and co-heirefses of Alderman Kalph 
Cock, of Newcastle. 

15. As rich as Cock's canny hinnies. 

The above proverb was no doubt highly popular, not only in 
the days of the worthy Alderman, but also during a long subse- 
q^uent period. 


16. Hob Collingwood. 

A name given in Newcastle to tlie four of hearts, in the game 
of whist. Old ladies in general look upon it as proverbially un- 
lucky. Qy., why so called ? 

17. He's getting into limbo — up the nineteen steps. 

That is, he is under confinement in Newcastle Old Gaol — 
the Castle Keep — [a stone jacket, Newcastle]. 

[As far back as 1569 Newgate is mentioned as a place of 
confinement for offenders. '' One Janet Cooke was spoken of 
in reproach of having stolen a purse," and was carried to the 
New Yaite for the same." Depositions, ^*c. from the Courts at 
Durham^ p. 68. — J. H.] 

18. Newcastle Scots are the worst of all Scots. 

Qy. Does this allude to the natives of the Land o' Cakes 
resident in Newcastle, or to a Newcastle family bearing ye 
above popular and honourable surname of Scot ? Maybe the 
proverb simply means that he who turns his coat becomes more 
bigotted to his new love than the genuine professor. [Is applied 
to Newcastle pedling merchants, who exact great profits and 
are mostly Scots^ called menage men.] 

A valued correspondent informs me that the proverbial 
phrase was, at no distant period, much used in London, in 
contempt of Northern Greens or Johnny Raws. 

19. Like will to like, as the Devil said to the Newcastle collier ; 
Or as the scabbed Squire said to the mangy Knyght, when 

they both met over a dish of buttered fish. 
Tel pot, tel couvcrcle. — Cotgrave. 


20. A quayside umbrella. 

A swill or kind of basket formed of mipeeled willows, which 
is generally carried on the head of a certain class of females. 
When the weather is wet and the basket is empty, they in- 
variably wear it topsy turvey : hence the Newcastle name. 

21. "Nog, noo, canny judge ; play the reet caird, and it's a deed 
pig," quoth the Mayor of Newcastle. 

" Deed " is '*dead " ; and a " dead pig ^' signifies that '' it is 
all over with anything." 

There is a good story told of a quondam alderman of New- 
castle, that when mayor, playing at whist with the late Judge 
Buller, and having nine and six tricks, he called aloud in a 
transport of joy, " Noo, noo, canny judge, play the reet caird," 

22. base mault, 

Thou didst the fault. 
And into Tyne thou shalt. 

Henry Wallis, a master shipwright of the town, having been 
guilty, while in his cups, of abusing Alderman Barnes, was 
committed to the tower on Tyne Bridge, where, finding a 
quantity of malt lying in the chamber wherein he was confined, 
he threw it all out of the prison window with a shovel into the 
water of Tyne, amusing himself the while with singing the 
triplet quoted above. 

23. A Sandgate rattle. 

A peculiar kind of step in vulgar dancing, consisting of a 
quick and violent beating of the heels and toes on the floor. 
— [Brockett.) 


24. Mr. Bryson, on Tyne Brigg, 

An upright, downright, honest Whig. 

The superscription on a letter from the celebrated Allan 
Ramsay. Martin Bryson, was a bookseller of respectability and 
worth, dwelling as above. — Sykes's Local JRecords, vol. i. 
p. 224. 

Section II. — The Town. 

25. As old as Pandon. 

V. As old as Pandon Yatts. 

The first form of the proverb is given by Grey, 1649. The 
latter is used in the southern portions of the Bishopric and the 
county of York. Pandon was anciently spelled '' Pampdene." 
Nothing is more general than the above saying, when any one 
would describe the great antiquity of anything. Pandon gate 
is believed to have been of Roman workmanship. It had large 
folding iron gates but no portcullis, and was ascended by a 
flight of stairs two yards wide. Camden remarks, " At Pandon- 
gate there still remains one of ye little turrets of Severus's 
wall." Recent discoveries have proved the Nourice of Anti- 
quity to be in error here, as the Roman wall passed in almost 
a rectangular direction with that of the town wall, and in a line 
with the gate called " Sallyport." Still, this does not disturb 
or gainsay the extreme antiquity of Pandon Yatts. 

Pandon was anciently a distinct town from Newcastle, but 
was united thereto by a charter of Edward I. The kings of 
Northumberland, after the departure of the Romans, are said to 
have had one of their palaces at Pandon. 

26. The nine trades of Newcastle. 

There are or were nine trading companies in Newcastle, to 
wit: three of wood, three of thread, and three of leather, " The 


meeting of the Nine Trades." Their place of meeting was in 
the house of the Grey Friars. 

28. Like carrying coals to Newcastle. 

To give to them who liave already more than sufficiency. 
In the environs of Newcastle are most of the coal mines which 
supply London and numerous other places. The common 
proverb is quoted by Mr. Disraeli to show that scarcely any 
remarkable saying can be considered national, but that every 
one has some type or corresponding idea in other languages. 
In this instance the Persians have to carry pe]:)per to Hindostan, 
the Hebrews to carry oil to the City of Olives, which is exactly 
the same metaphor in oriental language. In Scotland they 
have, to carry salt to Dysart, and puddings to Tranent ; the 
Greeks to carry owls to Athens ; and the Italians, &c. to carry 
indulgences to Rome. In conclusion, take the following extract 
from a modern writer : a certain Irish looking " operation and 
the traffick going on at Newcastle are a practical refutation of 
the two old sayings, which express a reversal of the right order 
of things ; for here the honest folks literally prove that it is 
very good sense "to put the cart before the horse " and " to 
carry coals to Newcastle." 

29. You must go to GatesiJe to hear Newcastle news. 

A common figure of speech. Gateside, the popular name 
of Gateshead. " And yet sic a mater nather does the kirk 
civilie nor the counsall or Parliament ecclesiasticallie intreat — 
dXia jXavKa^ eh 'AO^vw; — salt to Dysart, or colles to New- 
castle!"— Melville's ^i^toJio^mp/*^ (1583) i., 163 (Wodrow Soc.) 

30. A Scotcliman, a rat, and a Newcastle millstone will travel all 
the world over. 

A commendable spirit of enterprise and industry induces the 


natives of Scotland to seek their fortunes in all climates and 
kingdoms under the sun. The following epigrammatic couplet 
is from the pen of [Cleveland] * 

" Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom, 
Nor forced him to wandei*, but confined him at home." 

The propensity of our northern neighbours is further celebrated 
in proverb lore by the following : — the Englishman greets, the 
Irishman sleeps, but the Scotchman gangs till he gets it. 

JNIr. Southey, in his Literary Pastimes, vol. vii., describes the 
rat as the enemy of man, " a bold Borderer, a Johnny Armstrong, 
or Rob Roy, who acknowledges no right of property in others, 
and lives by spoil. Wherever man goes rat follows or accom- 
panies him. Town or country are equally agreeable to him. 
The adventurous merchant ships a cargo to some distant port, 
rat goes with it. Great Britain plants a colony in Botany Bay, 
Van Diemen's Land, or at Swan River, rat takes the oppor- 
tunity of colonising there also. Rat embarks as a volunteer. 
He doubled the Cape with Diaz, embarked at Malabar in the 
first European vessel with Gama, discovered the New World 
with Columbus, and took possession of it at the same time ; and 
circumnavigated the globe with Magellan, and with Drake and 
with Cook." 

Newcastle grindstones (magnified into millstones by the 
popular proverb) being the first of their kind, are therefore 
known and carried everywhere. In 1776, 560 grindstones 
were exported to Holland from Newcastle ; 467 to France ; 
139 to Germany; 12 to England; 155 to Prussia; QQ to 
Russia ; 15 to Sweden, &c. They are chiefly won at Byker 
Hill, Whickham Banks, and Gateshead Fell. 

* Churchill in Mr. Denham's copy, but the lines are Cleveland's. 


A Scotsman, a crow, and a ^Newcastle grindstone. 

According to tlie sailor's proverb, " there is no part of the 
world in which you cannot find a Scotsman, a crow, and a New- 
castle grindstone." — Scotsman Newspaper^ July 4th, 1860. 

A rat, a Scot, and a Newcastle grindstone wherever you go. 

Among other commodities Newcastle is famous for its grind- 
stones, the material of which, however, comes from the quarries 
in Durham county. Upon this circumstance is founded a 
satirical proverb, which the natives of South Britain are very 
fond of quoting to any Scot who may be sojourning among 
them; it is this, "A rat, a Scot, and a Newcastle grindstone, 
wherever you go ; " by which it is intimated that a Scot 
always takes but never gives. As to the ambulatory propensities 
and habits of the Scot, we deem it more a compliment than 
otherwise, and but pitliily descriptive of the adventuous spirit of 
the nation : 

" Mirth makes them not mad, 
Nor sobriety sad, 

But of that they are seldom in danger ; 
At Paris, at Rome, 
At the Hague, they're at home, 

The kind canny Scot is nowhere a stranger." 
Psedeutes in Hogg's Instructor, ii., p. 47. (2nd ser.) — J. H. 

31. Gotham. 

A cant name for this canny town. 

" Heaven prosper thee, Goatham ! thou famous old town, 
Of the Tyne the chief glory and pride ; 
May thy heroes acquire immortal renown. 

On the dread field of Mars when they're tried." 

Song — Kiver awa. 


I should su])pose tl)iit Newcastle acquired this unenviable 
name about the year 1649, when the Common Council com- 
missioned two of the town Serjeants to go into Scotland for the 
witch-finder ; if not in 1645, when they obtained the Lee-Penny 
to cure the plague, which was then ravaging the town. 

Many years ago a squib appeared in Newcastle the title of 
which was The Chronicles of Gotham. It had reference to the 
improvements made in the town when Dean Street and Mosley 
Street were formed. It was directed chiefly against the Cor- 
poration, and was, I understand, well executed. The late Mr. 
Nathaniel Clayton, and Mr. David Stevenson, the architect of 
i^.ll Saints Church, are the principal interlocutors. 

The nickname of Gotham is not singular in its application to 
Canny Newcastle : for it is an historical fact that it has been 
applied to many other towns in squibs and crackers, wherein 
the leading inhabitants were joked. Indeed we may imagine — 
nay assert — that the words Gotham and Gothamite have been 
applied to almost every inhabitant, and town, and village in the 

32. Croakumshire. 

A cant name for the whole comity of Northumberland, in 
which Newcastle may be included ; arising from the peculiar 
croaking in the pronunciation of the inhabitants. Grose says, 
" The people are born with a burr in their throats." 

33. Burcastle. 

Tlie capital of Croakumshire. 

34. If we cannot win the Old Castle we must win the New Castle. 

Spoken by those wdio, from ill success in one business, are 
forced to try another. The saying doubtless had its origin 
thus : — 


Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror, being sent by his 
father against the Northumbrian insurgents^ then in possession 
of Prudhoe Castle (about ten miles west from Monkchester), is 
said to have deferred the siege of that fortress till the ensuing 
spring, and to have garrisoned his troops during the winter at 
Monkchester, where he employed his soldiers in building the 
castle, on which occasion he remarked that, if we cannot take 
the Old we will at least build a New Castle. 

After the completion of the castle, the ancient name of 
Monkchester was discarded, and that of Newcastle given, which 
may it retain for ever. 

35. My altitude high, my body four-square, 
My foot in tlie grave, my head in the ayre, 
My eyes in my side, five tongues in my wombe, 
Thirteen heads upon my body, four images alone ; 
I can direct you where the winde doth stay, 
And I tune God's precepts thrice a day. 
I am seen where I am not, I am heard where I is not. 
Tell me now where I am, and see that you misse not. 

Grey in his ChorograpMa, or a Survey of Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne (1649), attributes this enigma on the steeple of St. 
Nicholas' Church, to Ben Jonson, and further says : — It lifletb 
up a head of majesty, as high above the rest as the cypress tree 
above the low shrubs. 

[Verum haec tantum alias inter caput extulit urbes, 
Quantum lenta sclent inter viburna cupressi. 

Virgil, Ec. 1.] 

36. Calf-yard. 

A proverbial phrase made use of to express the place of a 


person's birth. It is likewise the Newcastle man's fire- 

Aw've leern'd to prefer my awn canny calf-yaird, 

If ye catch me mair fra'et ye'll be cnnnun. 

Song, " Canny Newcastle." 

37. Newcastle Castle won't stand for ever. 

Spoken in reply to those who give utterance to expressions 
of astonishment at the short duration 9f anything. 

38. Barge-day. 

Ascension day. So called in Newcastle from the annual 
aquatic procession of the corporate body on that day. 

39. Eide through Sandgate, both up and down, 

There you'll see the gallants fighting for the crown ; 

All the cull cuckolds in Sunderland town, 

"With all the bonnie blue-caps cannot pull them down. 

The above is supposed to be a fragment of a song on the siege 
of Newcastle by Leslie and the Scots. The blue-caps (Scotch- 
men) did, however, after a most gallant defence, at last succeed 
in pulling them down, 19tli October, 1644. — Sharp's Bish. 

40. Black Indies. 

Newcastle and the surrounding district is so called in conse- 
quence of its immense wealth in coals. 

41. Black diamonds. 

Coals are so proverbially called in the North of England, more 
particularly in the vicinage of Newcastle. 


42. Of all the churches in our land, 
Let them be ne'er so braw ; 
St. Nicholas, of Newcastle town, 
Yet fairly bangs them a'. 

The inhabitants of this town are justly proud of their 
singularly beautiful specimen of architecture — the steeple of 
St. Nicholas's Church. This tower has been in danger of 
destruction by ravages of war. In October, 1644, when the 
town was besieged by the Scottish forces, the general pointed 
his cannon at St. Nicholas, and declared he would blow it down 
unless the town capitulated. It is said that the mayor. Sir John 
Marley, immediately caused the chief of the Scottish prisoners, of 
whom they had a considerable number, to be so disposed upon 
and around the steeple, that its destruction must have been fatal 
to them. " Our enemies," he said, " shall also fall with us, or 
preserve us," The tower was consequently saved. 

" Long has it stood ilk bitter blast, 
And longer may it stand, 
As it has been for ages past, 
A pattern to our land. 

" Then long may fam'd St. Nicholas stand. 
Before it does come down, 
That when we dee, our bairns may see 
The beauty of that town." 

— Local Song. 

43. Templum, Portus, Castrum, Carbo, Salina, Molaris, 
Murus, Pons, Salmo, Schola, sunt Novi gloria Castri. 

The ten celebrities of Newcastle are most learnedly chronicled 
in the above Latin distich by an ingenious author. 

X 2 


In one day, 12th June, 1755, not fewer than two thousand 
four hundred salmon were taken in the Tyne, and sold in New- 
castle market at a penny and a penny farthing a pound. 

44. The Newcastle muck-midden. 

The wonderful dunghill so celebrated in the history of New- 
castle existed at the west end of the castle keep, and owing to 
its extending a very great height up the building, damages were 
done to it to the amount of £120. This " outrageous^' muck- 
midden, which had been many centuries no doubt in collecting, 
was removed, in 1664, by Sir John Marley, and used to make 
a rampart on the town walls against the Scots. This place was, 
as it were, the common mixen or dunghill of the entire town. 

45. The Thief and Reaver bell. 

The proverbial name given to the tolling of the great bell of 
the church of St. Nicholas, in Newcastle-on-Tyne. From time 
immemorial this bell has been rung at eight o'clock in the 
evening preceding every fair as a kind of invitation or pro- 
clamation that all manner of whores, thieves, dice-players, and 
all other manner of unthrifty folks be welcome to enter the good 
town, whether they come early or late. 

The "privileged fairs" granted protection to this class only 
so far as they should not be then and there apprehended for any 
theft or misdemeanour, save and except the crime was com- 
mitted at or during the fair. This protection caused multitudes 
of loose persons of both sexes to resort to fairs of this descrip- 
tion, who otherwise durst not have appeared in public. 

46. Newcastle Assize Ehymes. 

In accordance with common tradition the following are the 


words of the tune played by the trumpeters before " my lord 
judge " on entering the town to hold " the circuit." They will 
remind the reader of Bow Bells and Dick Whittington : — 

The judge is here ! Ans. The judge is here ! 

Who is clear I am clear 

Need not fear ! And have no fear. 

The Aberdeen rhymes on a similar occasion are nearly the 
same. See Eclectic Review, 1847, p. 233. — [J.H.] 

47. Canny Newcastle. 

In the dialect of the north, the word canny means fine, neat, 
clean, handsome, becoming, honest, &c. This explanation is 
spoken jocularly to the natives of Newcastle as a gird on them 
for their partiality to their native town. By the pitmen New- 
castle is esteemed as the centre of the world of civilization. 

" God bless the king and nation, 
Each bravely fills his station, 
Our canny corporation, 

Lang may they sing wi' me." 

Song—" The Keel Row." 


1. The Coaly Tyne. 

The pride which the people of Newcastle take in their noble 
river absolutely amounts to a passion ; they speak of it with a 


"warmth of affection which stnuigers can with difficulty under- 
stand ; they celebrate it in their local songs, and a word said in 
its depreciation is resented as an insult. The keelnien are fre- 
quently heard singing some of the songs written in honour of 
their stream, and the following strain is almost sure to be heard 
by every visitor of Newcastle : — 

" Tyne river running rough or smooth, 
Makes bread for me and mine ; 
Of all the rivers north or south, 
There's none like coaly Tyne. 

" So here's to coaly Tyne, my lads, 
Success to coaly Tyne, 
Of all the rivers north or south. 
There's none like coaly Tyne." 

It is not surprising that the people of Newcastle should be so 
fond of their noble river, for it is difficult to describe the un- 
interrupted scene of activity and wealth exhibited along its 
banks from New burn to the lighthouse at North Shields, a 
distance of ] 7 miles. 

2. The Tyne, the Tees, the Till, the Tarset, and the Tweed, 
The Alne, the Blyth, the Font, the Tarret, and the Reed. 

The above, with iane exception, are the names of the principal 
Northumbrian rivers or their tributaries. 

3. The Tees, the Tyne, and Tweed, the Tarset and the Till, 
The Team, the Font, and Pont, the Tippal and the Dill. 

A mere variation of No. 2, with the names of a few other 


4. Tweed said to Till, 

" What makes j'c run so still ? " 
Till said to Tweed, 
" Tlio' ye run wi' speed, 
And I run slaw, 
Yet, where ye drown ae man 
I drown twa." 

In general the Tweed is a broad, shallow, and rapid river, 
well supplied with fords or waths. Its southern tributary, the 
Till, is, on the contrary, narrow, deep, and slow, with few or no 
fords. The comparatively greater danger of the Till to those 
attempting to cross it is expressed in the above verses. 

See Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland, p. 8, 3rd ed., 
1847, than which a more delightful book on popular archaeology 
was never written. 

The following are variorum readings of the above rhymes : — 

5. Tweed said to Till, 

" "What gars ye rin sae still ? " 
Till said to Tweed, 

" What gars ye rin sae gleed ? 
For as slow as I go, 
And as hard as ye rin, 
A can drown twae men 
"When ye can drown but yin." 

Berwickshire version. — J.H.] 

Till said to Tweed, 

" "What makes ye rin sae reed ? " [i.e. red]. 
Tweed said to Till, 

*' What makes ye rin sae still ? " 


Till said to Tweed, 
" Though fast ye rin, 
And still I gaun, 
Yet I drown twae men 
Where ye drown yen." 

Wooler version. — [J.H.] 

Still further variations exist. 

7. One mile of Tyne's worth ten o' Tweed, 

Except for beef and salmon and good brown breed. 

A great truth told in a few words. Breed, i.e., bread. 
[In Berwickshire it is said : 

" A mile o' Tweed's worth twa o' Dee, 
Except it be for bush or tree." 

Var.— A mile o' Don, &c.— J.H.] 

8. Says the Pont to the Blyth, 

" Where thou drowns yan, I drown five ! " 
Says the Blyth to the Pont, 
" The mair shame on't." 

The Pont and Blyth are two rivers in Northumberland. The 
Pont rises a little to the south of St. Oswald's, in the parish 
of St. John Lee, and after passing through Ponteland, to 
the west of what was once Prestwick Carr, it empties itself into 
the Cat-raw, which proceeds in a north-easterly direction to 
Stannington Vale, and assumes the name of the Blyth river, 
under which name the united streams flow to the sea at Blyth- 
nook. The Blyth possesses the peculiar advantage of being 
exempt from land floods. In full tides it has 16 feet of water 
at the bar. 


9. Escaped the Tees, and was drowned in the Tyne. 

The Welsh say, '■'■ To escape Cluyd and be drowned in 

Observe the alliteration in both proverbs. 

10. Core of the Coquet. 

Warton, a township in the parish of Rothbury, is famed in 
tlie legendary tales of its inhabitants as having been the resi- 
dence (>f a choice race of warriors who were the dread of the 
Scottish Borderers. The above characteristic is spoken of the 
land in this locality in token of the superiority of the soil. — 
[Thomas Arkle.] 

11. Tarsetburn and Tarretburn 
Yet! Yet! Yet! 

12. Up wi' Tarset aad Tarretburn, and down wi' the Eeed and 

8ee notes on the above rhymes, under head of " Slogans," in 
a former section. 

13. Tarset and Tarsetburn, 
Up wi' the Yettus ! 

The Yettus or Gatehouse, is a hamlet on Tarset, containing 
four or five houses. Qy. Is the above addition modem ; or 
has the Yettus in days of yore had a glory now departed. 
[Contributed by Thomas Arkle.] 

14. The Coquet Water. 

The Northumbrians use the above expression in a peculiar 
sense ; signifying thereby the district of the country immediately 
adjoining the river bearing that name. 



Wenning " Water side " is used in the ballad of Flodden 
Field in the same sense. In the southern parts of the county of 
Durham, we say Teeswater — the Tees- water breed of sheep. 

15. Till the Cruel-syke wi' Scottis-blode rins rede, 
Thoo maun na sowe corn by Tyne's side. 

The Cruel-syke is a small rivulet high up on the Roman 
Wall. This locality was so much ravaged by the Scottish 
Borderers, that it was of no use sowing any crops there. At 
last, however, they were defeated here, and the country had 

16. The Picts are severed from the English ground. • 
By Tweed, so-called of old, a certain bound. 

This couplet is, I understand, an excerpt from an old poet, 
whose name I am not acquainted with. 

[The extract is from Gibson's Camden, fol. 1096, and is 
translated from Alexander Necham's (died 1217) couplet: 

Anglos a Pictis sejungit limite certo, 

Flumen quod Tuedam pristina lingua vocat. — J. H.] 

17. Ye've been i' the haugli anunder Lishaw. 

EHshaw is a place on the north side of the Reed about two 
miles above Otterburn. The valley of the Reed for the first 
twelve miles of its course is comparatively narrow, but after 
Elishaw is past the hills recede and leave a considerable breadth 
of haughs, which in times of floods are covered with water. 

Tradition relates, that once upon a time, an owner of Shittle- 
heugh, a farm adjoining Elishaw, gave the Yetholm gipsies a 
grant of a small haugh near the junction of Durtree burn with 
the Reed. There the said gipsies used to encamp, and during 
their stay had many merry meetings at an adjoining public- 


house. One evening on returning to their camps after a hearty 
carousal, a member of the party fell into the river, and was 
carried away by the stream. The river being much swollen 
and the night dark, his companions gave him up for lost. 
After a brief period they were surprised and delighted by 
hearing him call out for help. They enquired " Where are 
you ? " and the reply was, " I'm i' the haugh an under Lishaw ; " 
and this it is said was the origin of the expression. 

To this day the haugh is the resort of travelling tinkers, yet 
it is a privilege only enjoyed by prescriptive title, the formal 
grant only existing in the mind of the claimants. [Thomas 

" You'll find it in the haugh anunder Lishaw," 

said when anything is lost. All the refuse swept down by 
floods from the upper part of Kedesdale settles or is arrested 
there. [Ibid.] 

18. My rents i' the Coquet yet. 

The Coquet is famous for its salmon, great numbers of which 
are destroyed in autumn when they ascend the river for the 
purpose of spawning. This used to be done with a loio and a 
leister. Formerly bodies of Redesdale (Rogues) and Tynedale 
(Thieves) men visited the Coquet for the sake of its salmon. 
Concealment was not attempted ; the safety of the party from 
arrest depending upon its numerical strength and courage. 
Many a dismal fray arose out of these nocturnal expeditions, 
and fearful wounds were inflicted with the formidable instru- 
ments used in their pursuit. The Coquetsiders are the only 
men who now follow this illegal practice ; and in favorable 
seasons it is to the Rothbury Idlers a source of considerable 
income ; so much so, that the payment of the rent of their 
small holdings frequently depends upon the success of their 


aquatic exertions. Hence has arisen the expression. — " My rent's 
in the Coquet yet." [Thomas Arkle.] 

19. Sin' the days o' Gilligacus, 

There's been fishers on the Tweed. 

I can meet with no satisfactory explanation of these rhymes. 
Gilligacus is evidently intended for Galgacus. 

20. Kothbury Thrum will be the ruin of us all. 

A little to the east of Rothbury the Coquet flows through a 
narrow gorge with precipitous rocks on each side. When the 
river is swollen the whole of the bottom, which consists of solid 
stone, is covered with water; but in dry seasons the flow is 
restricted to a channel some fifteen feet wide, scooped out of the 
rock by the powerful and long-continued action of the stream. 
Here the confined current, surging and foaming, flows with great 
rapidity. It is said to have been formerly of much less width, 
but on one or two individuals having been drowned in attempt- 
ing to leap across, the rock was cut away to prevent a repetition 
of the experiment. Such is the place familiarly known as 
Rothbmy Thrum. 

The above expression is, or at least was, a very common one 
amongst the seamen on the Thames (!) and this affords another 
instance of a local saying travelling far from the place of its 
origin. About thirty-five years ago a Mr. Taylor, from the 
neighbourhood of Rothbury, was stationed near York as an 
excise officer. During one of his rounds he was accosted by 
three fellows soliciting charity in the character of shipwrecked 
seamen. On inquiry where the disaster had happened, he was 
told in Rothbury Thrum. Pleased to hear the name of a place 
with which he had been familiar in boyhood, Mr. Taylor gave 
them a shilling, with the admonition never more to make the 
Thrum the scene of their calamity. — [Thomas Arkle.] 


Mount AiKs. 

1. When Cheevyut ye see put on his cap, 
Of rain yelle have a wee bit drap. 

A Northumbrian mountain rhyme, copied from Notes and 

Queries^ vol. viii. 326. Cheevyut, i.e. Cheviot hills. 

[Variety : Wlien Cheviat tap 
Puts on his cap, 
Of rain we'll hae' a wee bit drap.] 

2. It's gaun to be a wat day the morn ; 
Cheviot's got on his night -cap. 

[The above is the Wooler version of the saying.] 
[In the surrounding district they also say, if the hill is 
covered with mist in the earlv morning, and the mist descends, 
" Cheviot's drawn down his night-cap ; it's going to be a wet 
day ; " or if the mist rises, " Cheviot's put off his night-cap ; 
it's going to be fine." One version of a Roxburghshire saying 
on these mist caps is — 

When Cheviot gets on his cap, 

And Ruberslaw her hood, 
A' the wives o' Kale and Beaumont 
May expect a flude. 

In the central parts of Roxburghshire the saying becomes 
more strictly local : — 

When Ruberslaw puts on his cowl, 

The Dunion on his hood, 
Then a' the wives o' Teviotside 
Ken there will be a flood. 
Or in another form : 

When Dunion he puts on his cap, 

And Ruberslaw his hood. 

All the wives in Alewater may expect a flood.* — J.H,] 

* Chambers' Popular Rhymes, p. 374 ; Life and Times of William 
Thamson, p. 160, 


If Clieviot is thrice white before the term, it is a sign of an open 
mild winter. 

This is a Wooler saying. The " term " meant is old Martin- 
mas. Of similar import there is a Roxburghshire saying — 

" If there's ice in November that will bear a duck, 
There'll be nothing after but sludge and muck." 

There is also a local proverb in the Baltic, known among 
sailors, that ice having " early come, would early go." 

3. The Appenines of England. 

That range of hills v.diich extends from Allendale in this 
county, to the western angle of the Bishopric, and forms a 
barren region, is crossed by another range of mountains which, 
though none of them rise to any height, has not inaptly been 
termed the Appenines of England. 

4. From John o' Groat's House to the Cheviot Hills. 

A northern simile, perhaps more Scots than Northumbrian. 


Rude, rough and rusty Relics of a former Age. 

Northumberland for ever. 

This is a sort of cri de guerre which, when a young lad, and 
living within two miles of the Border, I have heard scores of 
times. The occasions on which I have heard it were football 
plays, wrestlings, foot races, &c., in which the young men on 


both sides of the Marches were assembled as competitors. 
Whenever a Coquetdale or Redesdale man distinguislied him- 
self in these §ames, his friends and countrymen never failed to 
give utterance to their chivalric feelings by the cry above quoted ; 
for instance, when a Northumbrian wrestler threw his antagonist 
of Teviotdale, the welkin immediately rang with — 

Northoomberland for ever ! 

From the MS. gatherings of my good friend, Mr. James 
Telfer, Saughtree, Liddesdale. 

2. Northumberland. — If you don't like it leave it. 

In The Properties of the Shyres of England printed by Heame, 
in the fifth vol. of Leland's Itinerary, we find this county thus 
characterised : — 

Northumberland hasty and hoot, 

"Westmerland thrut Scotte. 

The saying is doubtless indicative of the independent bearing 
of tie natives of the county, which may they long retain. 

3. Northumberland, the fore door into Scotland. 

This county is so termed by some of our early writers ; as 
also is Cumberland, the back door. 

The importance of Berwick induced the English to fortify 
the town to the utmost extent it was capable of; so that after 
1482 it remained as a gate between the kingdoms barred against 
the Scots, but ever open to their enemies of England. 

4. The autumn of the year is the summer of Northumberland. 

I give this on the authority of Mr. Hodgson, the historian of 
Northumberland, [This is not a popular saying.] 



5. Nortlmmberland had almost as many castles for defence as 
parish churches for the service of God. 

This is an assertion of Peter Heylin, and he explains it " on 
account of bad neighbourhood " In 1260 there were in this 
county thirty-seven castles, and eighty-seven towers of defence. 
— Local History. 

G. Fair Northumberland. 

This characteristic, which is of undoubted antiquity, is used 
by Drayton. See Polyolbion, song 33. Hear also the opening 
stanzas of a song in honor of this county : — 

" I've roved through pleasant England, 
Her towns and hamlets fair ; 
Upon her shores I've lingered, 

And breathed her mountain air : 
I've seen her fruitful counties 

O'er sweeping plains expand ; 
But none like thee can charm me, 
My own Northumberland." 

Rohert White. 

The woeful Wednesday of the Wreckhill, 

The above sorrowful saying, which has descended even to the 
present generation, arose on account of the hamlet of Wreckhill 
(now spelt Wreighill) being pillaged and nearly totally destroyed 
by a numerous party of Scottish freebooters, who besieged and 
killed most of the inhabitants on Wednesday, the 25th day of 
May, 1412. 

In 1665 nearly the whole of this village was swept away by 
the plague, which was introduced here in a small parcel sent 
from London to Miss Handy side. — From the Local Histories. 


1. Wide as Rimside Moor. 

2. I wadna' be on Rimside Aloor to-night wi' a black pig by the 

3. If ye were on Rimside Moor at twelve o'clock at night, wi' a 
black sow by the tail, ye wadna' be here to-night again. 

These proverbial sayings the Northumberland yeomen are 
wont to recount on a dark and stormy night. Rimside Moor is 
a bleak, heathy waste, stretching from near the Morpeth and 
Wooler Road, over the uplands behind Rothbury. To a North- 
umbrian the first expression conveys an idea of indefinite extent. 
When wrapt in the darkness of night the passage across it, as in 
all moorland tracts, is particularly dreary and lonesome. In 
former times it was deemed almost impossible for a stranger to 
ti'averse it at untimely hours without loosing himself in its 
trackless wilds, or being subjected to the infamous outrages of 
the midnight robber. Happily such is not the case now. 

The following specimen of an old ballad entitled " The Black 
"Sow o' Rimside and the Monks of the Holy Island," is illustra- 
tive of the goodly things the holy men of the sacred isle were 
accustomed to derive from their possessions on the mainland, in 
the production of which dainties those places, as their name 
would impart, have enjoyed a long and deserved celebrity : — 

From Goswick we've geese, and from Cheswick we've cheese, 

From Buckton we've ven'son in store ; 
From Swinhoe we've bacon, but the Scots have it taken, 

And the Prior is longing for more. 

Local Hist. Table Booh, Leg., Div. iii, 34, 35. Raine's 
North Durham, p. 181. 

[The anonymous article from which this is taken in the 
Tahle Book was of my contribution. The supposed old ballad 
'' The Black Sow o' Rimside." &c. (perhaps suggested as to 
title by " The Felon Sow of Rokeby, and the Friars of Rich- 


mond "), had, I believe, never any existence ; and the Eev. 
James Raine may be credited with the authorship of the four 
lines quoted. The saying " It would be a hard task to follow a 
black dockit sow through a burnt muir this night," occurs in 
Hislop's Scottish Proverbs, p. 192. In a poem, The Cottagers of 
Glendale, in H. S. Riddell's Poems, p. 13, the saying crops up 
in the dark hills on the confines of Selkirk and Peebleshire : — 

" Guid help them that are out the night," 

Said the auld man in private ; 
'' If set them on o' Minchmoor Head, 
Wi' black sow by the tail (o lead, 

They wadna' laug survive it." — J. H.] 

Blaydon bred 
And Meldon fed. 
But Dilston ha' 
Destroyed it a'. 

These rhymes evidently relate to the cattle bred at Blaydon, 
parish of Ryton, in the Bishopric, and fed on the rich pasturage 
of Meldon, which were all consumed in the munificent hos- 
pitality of the Derwentwater family. — J. H.] 

[" Scotland breeds, and England feeds," is an old proverb, 
obsolete since the turnip husbandry was introduced. — Hogg's 
Shepherd's Guide, p. 294.] 

According to R. W., the author of Cheviot, a poetical fragment, 
Dilston became celebrated in history at a very early period, in 
fact, immediately preceding the evangelising of the people of 
Northumbria ; and in a fashion too far dififerent to the hospi- 
talities of a festive board. 

At Dilston, RatcHffe's house, renowned in fight, 
St. Oswald, the Devil Cedwell put to flight, 
Oswald, his cause and resolution good, 
Turned to a field of Heav'n — a field of blood. 


[According to some, Hefenfeld, where Cadwallo perished, is 
Bingfield. — Turner's Hist, of Anglo- Saxons, \). 288.] 

Gallaly Castle stands on a height, 
Up in the day and down in the night ; 
Set it up on the Shepherd's Shaw, 
There it will stand and never fa'. 

[Another reading is " Callaly ha' stands upon a height."] 
Like many other ancient structures Callaly Castle was not 
built without the manifestation of supernatural agency. It was 
originally designed to erect it on a hill not far from that on 
which the present castle stands, but the interposition of an 
invisible agent compelled the builders to adopt a new site. At 
the first commencement of the building, the work done during 
the day was in unaccountable manner levelled with the ground 
during the night. To discover the reason of this mysterious 
interruption a watch was set, which remained till midnight 
without witnessing any symptoms of injury or hostility to the 
work ; suddenly, however, a strange commotion was perceived 
to have commenced among the closely compacted materials. 
Each individual stone gradually rose upon its end and fell 
noiselessly to the ground. No agency was discernible ; but the 
process of demolition gradually proceeded till the whole masonry 
was once more reduced to a ruinous heap, and then a loud voice 
giving utterance to the above prophetic rhymes was heard 
issuing from the midst of the ruins. The site was forthwith 
abandoned, and, the work being recommenced on the spot 
pointed out, Callaly Castle in due season became proud in the 
grandeur of her stern battlements and defended with the valiant 
arm of a warlike race bade, during a lengthened period, defiance 
to both foe and time. 

An old tower alone remains of the ancient edifice. The 

Y 2 


modern mansion was the seat of tlie family of Clavering, who 
liacl been settled there from a remote period. It has recently 
become the property of Major Browne. 

[The illustration is borrowed from my article on the subject 
in Richardson's Table Booh, iii., p. 109. I obtained the infor- 
mation from a native of Tyneside. But there is another side of 
the legend, although not quite so poetical, for it reduces it to a 
sham, which has been given by Mr. George Tate, F.G.S., in an 
article on " Wliittingham Yale." contributed to the Alnwick 
Mercury in 1862. It is to this purport : — 

" A lord of Callaly, in the days of yore, commenced erecting a 
castle on the hill ; his lady preferred a low, sheltered situation in the 
vale. She remonstrated ; but her lord was wilful, and the building 
continued to progress. What she could not obtain by persuasion she 
sought to achieve by stratagem, and availed herself of the super- 
stitious opinions and feelings of the age. One of her servants, who 
was devoted to her interests, entered into her scheme ; he was dressed 
up like a boar, and nightly he ascended the hill and pulled down all 
that had been built during the day. It was soon whispered that the 
spiritual powers were opposed to the erection of a castle on the hill ; 
the lord himself became alarmed, and he sent some of his retainers to 
watch the building during the night and discover the cause of the 
destruction. Under the influence of the superstitions of the times 
those retainers magnified appearances, and when the boar issued from 
the wood and commenced overthrowing the work of the day, they 
beheld a monstrous animal of enormous power. Their terror was 
complete when the boar, standing among the overturned stones, cried 
out in a loud voice — 

Callaly Castle built on the height. 
Up in the day and down in the night ; 
Builded down in the Shepherd's Shaw, 
It shall stand for aye and never fa'. 

They immediately fled and informed the lord of the supernatural 
visitation ; and, regarding the rhymes as an expression of the will of 


heaven, he abandoned the work, and in accordance with the wish of 
his lady built his castle low down in the vale, where the modern 
mansion now stands." — J. H.] 

The Cheviots for muttons, 

And Chillingham for beeves, 
Newcastle for its whores, 

And Kedesdale for thieves. 

The first trio retain their ancient celebrity down to the 
present moment; but the profession of thieving which was 
innate a couple of centuries ago, or even less, in the inhabitants 
of Tindale and Redesdale has now given place to honesty ; and 
the difference between meum and tuwn is as much known there 
as in any other district of England. 

In A Dialogue hothe pleasaunt and pietifidl, by William 
Bullein, 1564, a beggar in answer to the question, " I pray 
you what countrie man be you?" Answer, " Savying your 
honour, gud maistresse, I was borne in Redesdale in North- 
umberlande, and came of a wight ridyng sirname called the 
Robsons. gud lionast men and true, savyng a little shiftyng for 
their living. God and our leddie help them, silie pure men." 

Grey, Chorographia, 1649, says^ " There is many every year 
brought in of them " (the thieves of Tindale and Redesdale) 
" unto the gaole of Newcastle, and at the assizes are condemned 
and hanged, sometimes twenty or thirty." 

A worthy Newcastle merchant once informed me that a 
tradition had been handed down by his progenitors, that as 
many as twenty of their kith and kin and all bearing the same 
good old yeomanly sirname were hung at Newcastle in one day 
for their reiving predilections. 

Camden in his Britannia has a passing remark on the men of 


See Stephen Oliver, the younger's, Rambles in Northumber- 
land, chap, iv., 130-140. 

Mitford was Mitford when Morpeth was nane, 

And Mitford shall be Mitford when Morpeth is gane. 

[Var : Mitford was Mitford when Morpeth was nyen, 

Mitford will be Mitford, when Morpeth is gyen.j 

The above is doubtless a very ancient Northumbrian prophecy. 
The village of Mitford is most delightfully situated at the con- 
fluence of the rivers Wansbeck and Font, two miles west of 
Morpeth. There is a similar saying on Edinburgh and 

Morpeth town shall come to nought, 

And Prudhoe Castle fall. 
And all the town of Monkchester 

Shall be without a wall, 

A second prophecy anent the '' awde burrow towne o^ 
Morpeth ; " which if the prophetic rhymes are to be credited 
seems destined at no distant period to " come to nought." In 
the days of Leland it was a " far fayrer towne than Alnwicke ; " 
but now how altered is the fact ! The removal of the assizes was 
the first blow in late years, the second, the burglary committed 
by its rich and overgrown neighbour Newcastle, when it not 
only took away its fairs, but its markets ; and thirdly the 
railway was destined to remove the last traces of its town -like 
appearance by doing away with stage-coaches and post-horses. 
It has already suffered two awful conflagrations, viz : In the 
thirteenth and seventeenth centuries ; and if the third should 
chance to visit it in the twenty-first century, so far from rising 
again like a phosnix from its ashes I much fear that, like the city 
of Barnscar, in Cumberland^ it will fall to rise no more. 


Prudhoe Castle was tenanted 1557 ; but in 1596 was reported 
as old and ruinous. It is now a mass of extensive ruins. 

Even so late as in the '45, the walls and gates of Newcastle 
were in a tolerable state of repair; and on account of the 
rebellion, which broke out at the latter part of that year, they 
were planted with two hundred pieces of cannon. At the cor- 
responding period in the next century, scarcely one stone of 
either wall or gate remained upon another. 

Cold Wydon stands on a hill, 
Hungry Redpath looks at it still. 

Redpath and Wydon are two villages in the vale of Blen- 
kinsop, near Gilsland. 

Smoky Shields. 

So obvious as scarcely to require an explanatory note. See 
Dibdin^s Northern Tour. 

It is always dry land over to Holy Island during service time on a 

This relic has been handed down to us from an extremely 
early period. I believe that it is alluded to by Reginald, one of 
earliest of Lindisfarne's historians. There is, however, no 
occasion whatever to assign the ebb-tide at Holy Island to the 
miraculous interposition of Providence. It may so happen 
that the tide does so ebb naturally at the time in question, or, as 
it is rather a peculiar case, may not the hour of service be 
altered so as to suit the tide ? This island is twice a day 
separated from the mainland by a depth of five, and in spring- 
tides of seven feet of water and twice a day it is accessible on 
dry laud. Its greatest distance from the coast scarcely exceeds 


two miles ; but the pathway, at all times dangerous, is con- 
siderably lengthened by pools and quicksands. 

Dryshod, o'er sands, twice every day, 
The pilgrims to the shrine find way ; 
Twice every day the waves efface, 
Of staves and sandall'd feet the trace. 


When ye lang for a mutton bone 
Think on the Wedderstone. 

The Wedderstone stands in a field near the village of Catton 
in Allendale. Tradition states that many years ago a notorious 
sheep-stealer infested this part of the county, who, it appears, 
was the terror of the whole of the neighbouring farmers ; in the 
first place because he appeared to be a good judge of mutton, 
from the fact of his generally taking the choice of the flock ; 
and in the second place, that, although he paid a visit to every 
sheep-fold for several miles around, and to many where a strict 
watch was kept, he remained unsuspected; neither was there 
the slightest suspicion as to who the thief might be. At length, 
however, the invisible became visible. It appeared that his 
method of carrying off his booty was to tie the four legs of the 
animal together, and then, by putting his head through the 
space between the feet and body, thus carry it away on his 
shoulders. On his last visit to his neighbour's flock, the animal 
which he had selected for his week's provision beirig heavy, he 
stopped to rest himself, and placed his burden upon the top of a 
small stone column (without taking it off his shoulders), when 
the animal became suddenly restive, commenced struggling, 
and slipped off the stone on the opposite side. Its weight being 
thus suddenly drawn round his neck, the poor wretch was 
unable to extricate himself, and was found on the following 
morning ^uite dead, 


A similar story is told by Fuller of the Hanging Stone in 
Devonshire. Worthies of England, i. 273. [The Hanging 
Stone on Cheviot has a similar legend, as has another Hanging 
Rock near Gordon, Berwickshire, although it probably obtained 
its name originally from its suspended attitude. — J. H.] 

In the Castle Bank lies a bull's hide of gold, 
But there it shall lie, unseen — untold, 
Until nine sons and their widowed mother, 
The charm shall break and the gold discover. 

The above is traditionally said to be one of the many pro- 
phecies attributed to old Mother Shipton, and applies to Castle 
Banks, near Haltwhistle. On the south side of this eminence, 
and near its summit, is a spring in a hollow, which converts 
about twenty feet in diameter into a bog or morass ; here, 
according to tradition, a bull's hide filled with gold lies buried, 
which can only be raised by a widow with nine sons. 

There will be three great battles. 
One at Northumberland Bridge, 
One at Cumberland Bridge, 
And the other the south side of Trent. 

An old prophecy attributed to Nixon, the Cheshire prophet. 

The lang gaunts o' Elishaw 
Were heard in't loans o' Blakelaw. 

Gaunts — sighs, yawns. 

Loans. — The places where cows are milked in a common 
pasture are so called in the North of England and the South of 

The saying though now applied to the sighings of lovers in 
general is often heard as " the lang gaunts o' Elishaw," and is 


supposed by a Redesdale correspondent of the writer to refer 
'^ to some feud in which the people of Elishaw took terrible 
vengeance on the folks o' Blakelaw." Blakeman's Law, as its 
name implies, is a hill near Elishaw on the opposite side of the 
Durtree burn. There is also a Blakelaw, two and a half miles 
from Newcastle, and another near Bellingham. — [Thomas 
Arkle. Mr. Arkle noted that this saying is also spoken of 
in regard to two places near the Tweed, but he could not find 
his reference.] 

In the History of the Benvickshire Naturalists'* Club, viii. pp. 
129-130, note, Mr. Thomas Craig gives a Roxburghshire varia- 
tion, which concerns Elliesheugh on the Beaumont in the parish 
of Hownam. " A local saying was at one time very popular, 

The lang Gaunts of EUisheugh, 
Were heard at Blackden lane. 

Oral tradition affirms that the saying originated in the cir- 
cumstance of a noisy family of the name of Gaunt having at one 
time lived at Elliesheugh ; though in lapse of time many 
supposed it to mean the ' lang gaunts ' (yawns) of an unusually 
sleepy hamlet population." — J. H.j 

Rothbury for goats' milk, 
And the Cheviots for mutton, 
Cheswick for its cheese and bread, 
And Tynemouth for a glutton. 

Rothbury is bounded on the east by a lofty ridge of steep and 
rugged rocks, which extends a distance of four miles. Among 
these craggy cliffs a number of goats were once grazed to supply 
the valetudinarians who resorted thereto during the summer 
season with goats-milk and whey, which delicacies, in conjunc- 



tion with the sakibrious air of the place, often produced wonder- 
ful effects, in bracing the relaxed tone of the nervous system. 

The Cheviot Hills occupy an area of nearly 95,000 acres. On 
the Cheviot, from which all the others in that extensive range 
take their name, is a large loch which is often frozen at Mid- 
summer. [This loch, which figures in several of the local 
histories, is merely a few " moss-holes," of which one or two of 
no great extent do not dry up in summer. They are the sources 
of the Coldgate and College burns.] In Kidland lordship the 
sheep of the Cheviot breed are found in the greatest perfection, 
the sweet herbage on which they depasture being peculiarly 
favourable for feeding and breeding these useful animals. Here 
they are never visited with the rot, or subjected to any other 
disease except what is termed pineing ; and of this they can 
easily be cured by removing for a few weeks those which are 
affected to a soil incumbent on freestone. 

The ancient celebrity of Cheswick for its cheese is already 
sung. See note to sayings on Rimside Moor, p. 321. 

Take him, Satax ! take him ! 

In the year 1195 William Pigun, who wore the habit, but 
was not a monk, was a most wicked hypocrite among reli- 
gious men. This villain, observing that the seal of his monastery 
of St. Albans was not watched as it might have been, found an 
opportmiity to steal it, and committing a forgery with it, was 
banished from that house to the cell of Thinemue, there to do 
perpetual penance for his crime. Being implacable, he often 
bitterly cursed the abbot who sent him to Tynemouth, but all 
his curses fell upon his own head ; for falling asleep in the 
priory, after eating and drinking to excess, he never waked 
again ; and the monks who were in the cloister and dorture, 
distinctly heard a voice crying in a most vehement manner, 
Take him, Satan ! take him Satan ! {Brand). 


The Wind's in Howick Hole. 

[In Northumberland, storms from the south-east are so said 
to come, and are anything but appreciated . — J. H.] 

In the olden time, when round hearths were used, there rose 
a sort of unmannerly proverb, " Neighbour, is the wind in 
your hole this morning ? " among the country people, the 
meaning of which is, ^' Have you the conveniency of keeping 
in your fire to-day ? Wind-hearths had holes under them 
which were pierced straight through the foundation of the house. 
Hearths of similar construction are still used in the peat and 
turf burning districts of the North of England. [Var. : 
" There's never any good comes out o' Howick Hole," or " It's 
gaun to be bad weather, the wind's out o' Howick Hole." In 
Berwickshire we substitute '' Lamsdean Hole." — J. H.] 

Hearts is Trumps at Eshott Hall. 

The gentleman who kindly communicated the above, and 
many other popular rhymes and proverbs, which greatly en- 
hance the value of the present collection favoured me with the 
following remarks : — '' I have often heard this at Newcastle 
when a boy. It seems to have referred to the golden age of 
squirealty, when })laying at cards was nearly their only employ- 
ment, and the occurrence of a certain kind of trump an accident 
of sufficient importance to be thrown into a proverb ; but at 
what period the remarkable fact was at first established will 
perhaps always remain in obscurity. It can scarcely be placed 
earlier than Queen Anne, certainly not later than the American 

Eshott Hall is within a short distance of Felton. The pro- 
perty at different ages has been in possession of the De Eshott, 
Bertram, Heron, and CaiT families, but has long since passed 



from the good old Northumbrian race of Carrs. The Carrs of 
Eshott were in good esteem in tlie nortli, and were referred 
to and considered what may be called the principal house of the 
name in the " north countree." 

It's no' a Byword, like Hebbron Kirk. 

Hebburn (properly so spelt) church was rebuilt in 1793. 
In 1674, Dr. Basire, at his visitation, found the chapel " most 
scandalously and dangerously ruinous ; roof divided, under- 
propt within with eight crutches, without with three ; the seats 
all upturned and broken." [Is this a genuine saying ? The 
village referred to is Hebburn in Bothal parish, Morpeth ward. 
—J. H.] 

It's Wednesday at Morpeth, Thursday at Longtowii, and Friday at 
Allendale Town. 

A Northumbrian answer when one person enqm'res of another 
what day< of the week it is. The days given in the text are 
those in which the respective towns hold their markets. — [J. H ] 

Hartley and Hallowell, a' ya' bonnie lassie, 
Fair Seatoii Delaval, a' ya', 
Earsdon stands on a liill, a' ya', 
Near to Billy Mill, a' ya'. 

Hartley, a township and considerable village, is situated near 
the sea, five and a half miles north of North Shields. 

Hallowell, or Holywell, a township and a small village five 
and a half miles north-west by west of North Shields. It 
derives its name from Saint Mary's Well, the waters of which 
are medicinal and become of a puce colour with an infusion of 


Seaton Delaval, a township six and a half miles north-west of 
North Shields, near to which are the ruins of Seaton Delaval 
Hall, which, previous to its destruction by fire, 3rd Jan., 1822,. 
was one of the most noble mansions in the north. This ruined 
and deserted seat is the property of Lord Hastings. 

Earsdon, a pleasant and well-built village, is seated on a 
rocky eminence, two and a half miles west of the sea, three and 
a half from North Shields, and eight miles from Newcastle. 

Billy Mill is in the parish of Tynemouth. 

" A' ya' bonnie lassie." Brockett, in his Glossary of North 
Country Words, under " A you a hinny," says the expression 
is used by northern nurses as a lullabee. Vide Brand's Pop. 
Ant., 8vo and 4to, 1810 ; Bell's Northern Rhymes, 296 : 

There's Sandgate for old rags, 
A you, hinny Burd, 
And Gallowgate for trolly bags, 
A you a. 

Newcastle Song. 

The Meadow Bank grows clover rank, 
And Cheeseburn Grange grows tansy ; 
But go I will, to the 8tob Hill, 
And court my bonny Nancy. 

Cheeseburn Grange is in the parish of Stamfordham. Stob- 
Hill is the name of a farmstead in the same parish. Of Meadow 
Bank I can gather nothing from the authorities before me. 

Alnwick famed for bloody battles and bogs. 

[For its battles and sieges, see the County Histories.] 

2. Canny Annick and its ten miles round. 

" I would venture to hope that the revolutionary waves which 
are sweeping away the customs of the olden times may still 
spare to canny Annick and its ten miles round the picturesque 
and joyous spectacle of going through the well." — Mr. George 
Tate, Provincial Souvenir and Eastern Border Annual, 1846. — 
[J. H.] 

Go TO Heckley Fexce. 

Equivalent to the exclamation used by a poor fellow when he 
is harassed by some testy disputants of " Go to the devil ! " 
Heckley fence is a farm in the neighbourhood of Alnwick. 

Its like the Butter o' Halterburn. 

That is, " it would neither rug nor rive, nor cut wi' knife — 
it was confounded." From the latter part at least of this doubt- 
less befitting description, it is most evident that the butter was 
bewitched. [Sent by J. H. — A Roxburgh, &c., saying. Be- 
witching had nothing to do with it. The milk had not been 
properly syled, and the kirn had not been clean, and the conse- 
quence would be a compound of butter, hair, and dish-clout. 
Halterburn is on the Borders, near Yetholm.] 

Question. "Where have ye been to-day ? 
Answer. Where the devil hanged his grannie. 

[The devil hanged his grannie on " the bowed rock on tho 
brae," a hanging crag, on the slope of Doddington Hill, that 
faces Wooler. It is a cavernous rock — one of Cuddy's or St. 
Cuthbert's coves — and has cut on its sides a few Runic cha- 
racters, and on its top some of those mysterious cup-markings 

336 The denham teacts. 

and circles, ascribed to the ancient Britons, which are so frequent 
on this hill. On the summit of the rock, which is of sandstone, 
the rain gathers into little circular pools, which, being whirled 
about by the wind and partly filled with sand, are becoming 
deeper and deeper. These empty themselves when full along 
many deep gutters, round the brow of the rock, that resemble 
hollows made by ropes fraying the softer parts of the stone. 
The " devil's grand-dame " and "dam" are mentioned in ^wdi- 
hras. Elsewhere on the Borders we find the devil dissatisfied 
with his "fore-elders." In Roxburghshire, according to Dr. 
Brydone of Hawick, the devil dwelt in a cave in that wild 
moorland now occupied by Hellmuir Loch, and his mother was 
his housekeeper. One morning he awoke early, as he had a 
busy day before him, having to brand and dispose of a large 
number of apostates, whom he had caught the day before. 
Finding his porritch not ready, and his mother still sleeping, he 
flew into a passion, seized a huge stone and dashed her brains 
out, and in the ecstacy of his frenzy dragged her body across 
the country till, becoming tired, he threw her into a deep pool 
in a burn on the farm of Stonedge, which pool is called the 
DeviPs Cauldron till this day. She was heavy, and her body 
ploughed up the land and made the Catrail. — History of Ber- 
icickshire Naturalists' Club, vii., p. 75. — J. H.] 


The tillage lands in that district are grievously overrun with 
these weeds. When the " Bunch" is in bloom the appearance 
is called " the Yellow Fever."— [J. H.] 

There's walth o' kye i' bonny Braidlees ; 
There's walth o' yowes i' Tyne ; 
There's walth o' gear i' Gowanburn ; 
And they shall all be thine. 

A quatrain quoted by the Ettrick Shepherd, Tales and 


Sketches, vol. ii., p. 126. It is evidently a relic of a Scots 
nursery freebooting song, singularly illustrative' of the happy 
manner in which the nurses and grandames of the good old 
Border times fulfilled the delightful task of teaching "the 
young idea how to shoot," pouring " the fresh instructions o'er 
the mind," breathing the " enlivening spirit," and fi.xing " the 
hostile purpose in the glowing breast." 

[I sent this to Mr. Denham, but I doubt if it is a veritable 
rhyme. — J. H.]' 

Twice burned. 
Twice robbed, 
And once sunk, 
And then farewell to Hesleyside. 

Tliere are no particular traditions of the ancient family of 
Charlton of Hesleyside. This Border sept held that estate in the 

reign of Edward I Sir Edward Charlton 

was out with Charles I., and raised a troop of horse for that 
luckless monarch. The spur of the Charlton is at Hesleyside. 

The mansion of Hesleyside was twice burned and twice 
robbed during the last century, but as yet it shows no outward 
or visible sign of sinking, either in a figurative or actual 

Waterless Walwick stands on the hill ; 

Hungry Humshaugh looks at it still : 

Cockelaw and Keepick stand in a raw, 

There's mawks in the kirn at Easington Ha'.- [J.H.] 

Walwick, in the parish of Warden, a district rich in historical 
and legendary reminiscences. 

Humshaugh is in the parish of Simonburn. 

Cocklaw is in the parish of St. John Lee. 

Keepick or Keepwick is in the townshij) of Cocklaw. 


[Easington Ha' is probably a farm near tlic otlier places. 
Mawks are maggots. I obtained this rhyme from a native of 
Tyneside. — J. H.] 

Rattenuaw Burn will not make a Crowdy aftkr May Day. 

Rattenraw stands on the south side of the Reed, about three- 
quarters of a mile from Elisliaw, another village of gipsy 
notoriety. The land which now forms part of a farm consti- 
tuted, some thirty years ago, five occupations, and probably at 
a remote period there may have been double that number. The 
tenants, however, of such primitive holdings were necessarily 
poor, each raising a quantity of corn which the greatest economy 
could scarcely make sufficient to re-sow the ground and support 
the family till the succeeding harvest. The result was that very 
little of any sort of grain remained on hand after seed time. 
Hence arose the saying as a satire on the poverty of the 

When the corn made an approach to ripeness, small patches 
of the most forward might have been observed cut for the pur- 
pose of being hurried to the mill to make food for the expectant 
household. Rattenraw was no exception in this respect ; yet 
the state of society was there more strongly marked. There, 
too, the Hungry Hook was last seen "flying" before it bade a 
final farewell to the Yale of the Reed. When portions of grain 
were cut in a partially green state, the neighbours were wont to 
observe, " The Hungry Hook is flying," and when any one 
inquired the cause of the premature cutting, the invariable reply 
was, " We want fog for the cow," thus endeavouring to draw a 
veil over a condition which mankind in general are fain to 
conceal. — [Thomas Arkle.] 

[The Cuckoo will not appear as long as the Flail is heard 


The farm of Pauperhaugh is situated on the north bank of the 


Coquet, Jibout three miles below Rothbuiy. At the time when 
this reproachful taunt had its origin, the land there was doubt- 
less divided, like that at Rattenraw just mentioned, into very 
small holdings, the tenants of which were poor, and this cir- 
cumstance may, perhaps, account for the unenviable designation 
which yet attaches to the place. In those days little of the grain 
remained unthrashed after seed time, and the welcome spring 
visitant on her first approach would generally witness empty 
' stackyards. 

The state of society in the upland vales of Northumberland, 
which elicited from the officers of Elizabeth's government such 
complaints of the country being overburthened with people, 
gradually disappeared, but this saying affords evidence that it 
lingered at Pauperhaugh after a new order of things had been 
established at most of the adjoining hamlets. — Thomas Arkle.] 

Hunterley Dunterley stands on yon hill, 

Hungry Hesleyside looks at it still, 

The Reins and the Riding, Longhaugh, and the Shaw, 

Bellingliam, Bogglehole, and the Iver Ha' 

The little man o' the moulting striddles o'er them a'. 

" [Nearly all these places are in the neighbourhood of Hesley- 
side. The " little man of the moulting," or malt-kiln, was one 
Archibald Reed, who held a mortgage over the property, from 
which the owners at last extricated themselves. See at greater 
length in Mr. Denham's original work, pp. 119-121.] 

The Hobthrush of Elsdon Moat. 

In the district of Elsdon the Hobthrush goblin is locally 
known by the name of Hobthrush. One of these beings of the 
imagination was wont to visit Elsdon Moat in days of old, and 
as became him, brownie-like, performed a great amount of 



liousehold and other labour. He wore a shocking bad hat, as 
the story goes, and out of commiseration, for far, very far 
from it was the purpose of banishment intended, the inmates 
placed a new one in his accustomed haunt, when like the Cauld 
liad o' Hylton and the Brownie o'Bodsbeck, he disappeared 
uttering a shorter though somewhat similar wailing cry — 

New hat, new hootl, 
Hobthrush 'ill do no more good. 

The lively imagination of our ancestors seems by joining a 
portion of the attributes of the different genii to have created a 
third, and this process being continuously repeated, the result 
was, that there was scarcely a spot of earth on the habitable 
globe which had not its own particular sprite. [Thomas 


Remnants of things that are passing away. 
Siu John Fenwick, the flower amang them. 

I recollect an old woman of Wallington used to repeat the 
following fragment : — 

Sir John Feenwick's a flower amang them, 
He looked over his left shoulder, and bid the 
Hexham lads gang hang them. 

But why he looked over his left shoulder rather than his right, 
and why he should bid the Hexham lads gang hang them ; and 
whether the " them " was the lads themselves, I never could 
make out. Private Correspondence, June, 1852. 

Had we the good hap to have this once popular song before 
us, I guess we should find that the command given by the fierce 


kiiyght of old was to be executed on some reiving rogues of 
liedesdale, or canny Scots freebooters. [Very unlikely]. 

The fact of Sir John being represented as looking over his 
left shoulder will be found to prevail pretty generally in ballad 

Old Sea Gull. 

The familiar appellation bestowed upon Lord Collingwood by 
north country seamen. 

Canny Laug Benton, 
Bonny Seaton Delaval. 

Characteristics met with in local song. 

The Spittal wives are no' very nice,"" 

They bake their bread wi' bugs and lice ; 

And after that they skin the cat, 

And put it into then- kail-pot 

Tliat makes then- broo' baith thick and fat. 

It stands recorded on the page of history that, once upon a 
time, Spittal (near Berwick-upon-Tweed) was the common 
rendezvous of smugglers and vagabonds; bat happily they are 
all driven from their coverts, and the inhabitants may now, 
with certain exceptions here and there, be esteemed as both 
honest and industrious. They are, however, pretty generally 
looked upon by their more cleanly industrious neighbours as 
somewhat mucky withal in their culinary operations. 

The Gowks o' Davy Shields. 
[Second Notice.] 

Davy Shield, or Davoy Shield, is the vale traversed by the 
Otter, which falls into the Reed at Otterburn. It consists at 
this time of four farm houses, a shooting box, and a cottage, 


yet, like other pastoral districts, bears unmistakeable marks of 
depopulation. Whether the dwellers here were formerly gowks 
above all the men who dwell in Redesdale, it is now, perhaps, 
impossible to ascertain, but it is certain that^ even in the remote 
locality of Davey Shield, intercourse with the world, like the 
action of attrition on pebbles, has smoothed the asperities, rounded 
the salient points, and made the people approach to the common 
standard. — [Thomas Arkle.] 

We'll Make't out amang us, as the Folks o' Lislebuisn did 
THE Lord's Prayer. 

This is said when there are several persons in company, and 
each is constrained to furnish some reminiscence of an event 
nearly forgotten. 

If there is any truth in this saying, " the folks o' Lisleburn " 
had not been so surcharged with acumen as the characteristic 
given on a former page (see Clegs o' Lisleburn) would seom to 
imply, unless it is admitted that the children of that part of the 
world are wiser in their generation, etc. — [Thomas Arkle.] 

Tatty Town Folks. 

That is, the inhabitants of the village of Thropton, near 
Rothbury. It is said that this was the first place at which 
potatoes were grown in this part of the country; and the 
saying which is now used as a term of reproach is probably the 
only piece of surviving history which commemorates the circum- 
stance. — [Thomas Arkle.] 

There was never four saved at Three Card but at the 

Here in the olden time a party of four was playing at this 
game (Loo), when the house tumbling down they saved, not 
their stakes, but their lives. 


I may liere mention a curious custom wliieli prevailed some 
eighty years ago, in one or more of the dales in this county. 
When playing at whist, if one of the party got the odd trick, 
their opponents having had the four honours, a circumstance 
which sometimes happens, the former party rose up and chalked or 
scratched a cuddy's head upon the wall. A very old man, now 
dead, used frequently to relate that he had seen this done in his 
boyish days, and on one side, on the underside of the boards, 
the house beino: what in those districts is termed lofted. This 
occurred at Paunch ford, and visiting the place some fifty years 
afterwards, he found the representation still perfect. 

Grasslees and Pauuchford are, or rather were, two farm 
places in the township of Woodside, and parish of Elsdon. — 
[Thomas Arkle.] 

The Couts o' Cartington. 

Cartington is a place rather famed in history, and notice of 
it may be seen in the pages of any local historian. The saying 
took its rise from a family of rash, rough, headstrong individuals 
residing there in days of old. 

Auld Wark upon the Tweed, 
Has been many a man's dead. 

[For an account of Wark, see the County Histories, and a 
paper in the Border Magazine, by the Rev. Peter Mearns, to 
which there are additions in the Transactions of the Hawick 
Arcliceological Society J] 


1 . Canny Newcastle thou shines as thou stands, 

Tlic more I look at thee, the more my heart warms. 

The above words seem to come from the heai't of a genuine 


Newcastle man, or untravelled northern. Whether they form 
a perfect ejaculation, or are part of a poem, I am at a loss to 
say. I suspect the latter. 

2. Portus, castrmn, carbo, salmo, salina, molaris, 

Murus, pons, tcmplum, schola, sunt novi gloria castri. 

See ante, p. 307. The above is the reading as given by 
Grey in his C/iorographia, and yet neither of them can boast of 
true metrical quantities. 

Hexham Nicknames. 

The subject thougli trivial is curious, and perhaps not 
altogether to be condemned. 

It was usual in ancient times with the greatest families, and 
is by all genealogists allowed to be a mighty. evidence of dignity, 
to use certain nicknames, which the French call '' sobriquets." 
History of the House of Yvery. 

An esteemed correspondent, a native of Hexham, writes me, 
" I think that by-names abound more in Hexham than in many 
places, many of us have our sobriquet. No class is exempt. 
Excuse me sending more than a selection of what I could easily 
collect, and accept as my excuse that I ought to bo better 
employed than making up matters tending to bring into coji- 
tempt my townsfolks, and perhaps my kinsmen." 

So, also, another friend and correspondent (likewise a native) 
says : '' Hexham used to be an odd kind of place. I don^t 
know what it is now, but everybody used to have a nickname, 
and some of them were very strange, take the following as a 
sample : — [Note that both lists are blended.] 

Kick o' the guts. Brandy Billy. 

Wry-neck. Hob o' the loanin. 

Lord Lickpenny. .John o' the loanin, 


Moses. Jemmy lang Hannah. 

Pistol-foot. Aaron. 

Shiney-boots. Jamaica Tommy. 

Jamaica John. Gentleman John. 

Gold-foot. Weather-neck. 

Jinny the Drummer. Lang Ends. 

Mall the Priest. Mary o' the Kiln. 

Bubbly Jock. Jack the Dilly-driver. 

Clocky Bell. Me-an'-my-Father. 

A Busy Gap Rogue. 

Tlie offence of calling a fellow freeman " by this name '^ was 
sufficiently serious to attract the attention of a guild, a case of 
this kind being in the books of the Bakers' and Brewers' Com- 
pany of Xewcnstle on-Tyne, 1645. — The Roman Wall, Rev. 
J. C. Bruce, LL.D., 2nd ed. 4to, p. 176. 

Camden mentions — " Busy Gap, noted for robberies, where 
we heard there were forts, but durst not go and view them, for 
fear of the mosstroopers. " Busy Gap is an ancient breach in 
the " Roman or Picts Wall," at no great distance from the 
station Procolitia, now Carrawbrough. 

To Drink like a Sleuth-hound. 
A Border expression. Sleuth-hound, i.e., the blood-hound. 

Poor Jack and Tom. 

The following auld antique Border ditty, which was taken 
down from the lips of a " Crowder and ballad singer " in 1847 
contains nothing remarkable, either as regards plot or poetic 
merit, yet as a traditional Border ballad, apparelled in the dust 


and cobwebs of tlie oldon time, I consider it well deserving, not 
only of notice but of preservation ; — 

I'm a north countryman, in Redesdale born, 
Where our land lies lea, and grows ne corn; 
And such twa lads to my house never com, 
As them twa lads called Jack and Tom. 

Now, Jack and Tom, they're going to the sea, 

I wish them both in good companie ! 

They're going to seek their fortune ayont the wide sea, 

Far, far away, from their own countrie. 

They mounted their horses, and rode over the moor, 
Till they came to a house, when tliey rapped at the door, 

And out came Jockey, the hostler man.* 
" D'ye brew ony ale ? D'ye brew ony beer ? 
Or have ye ony lodgings for strangers here ? " 

*' Ne, we brew ne ale, nor we sell ne beer. 

Nor have we lodgings for strangers here ! " 

So he bolted the door, aad bade them begone, 

For there was na lodgings there for poor Jack and Tom. 

They mounted their horses, and rode over the plain ; 
Dark was the night, and down fell the rain ; 
Till a twinkling star they happened to spy, 
And a castle and a house they were close by. 

They rode up to the house, and they rapped at the door, 

And out came Jockey the hosteler ; 

'' D'ye brew ony ale ? D'ye sell ony beer ? 

Or have ye ony lodgings for strangers here ? " 

* It must not be inferred from this that the little way-side 
hostelries kept " hostlers," a»!cording to the present acceptation of 
the word. The primeval moaning was, " hostman " or " innkeeper." 
Again, the students in some of the colleges at Cambridge were for- 
merly so termed. 



" Yes, we have brewed ale tliis fifty laiig year, 
And we have got lodgings for strangers here." 
So the roast to the fire, and the pot hung on, 
'Twas all to accommodate poor Jack and Tom. 

When supper was over, and all was sided down, 
The glasses of wine did go merrily roun'. 
" Here is to thee. Jack, and here is to thee, 
And all the bonnie lassies in our countrie." 
" Here is to thee, Tom, and here is to thee. 
And long they may leuk for thee and me ! " 

The last line of this stanza gives the reader leave to infer 
that the luckless Borderers were escaping from the consequences 
of some blood-stained foray. 

'Twas early next morning, afore the break of day, 
They mounted their horses, and so they rode away. 
Poor Jack, he died upon a far foreign shore, 
And Tom, he was never, never heard of more. 

Communicated by the editor to William Jordan, Esq,, and 
given by him in the Literary Gazette. See vol. for 1848, pp. 
460, 461. 

The Mosstrooper's Grave. 

From the Lake of Grindon a small burn * issues and flows 
about two miles in a westerly course, when it is suddenly lost in 
a fissure in its rocky passage in the limestone, popularly known 
as a "swallow hole." Tradition states that a young mosstrooper, 
in attempting to rob a farmyard in the neighbourhood, was shot 
by one of the servants and brought to the lonely " swallow hole'* 
and there buried. Upon this tradition a ballad was founded, 
which I fear is now lost. 

* Chinely-burn. 


The Roman Wall. 

The common people of the dales through which the wall runs 
have a tradition that this formidable line of demarcation was 
built by the joint endeavours of Mitchell Scott,* and the Devil, 
and that they finished their work in a fortnight. 

The more popular myth is, however, and it goes very far 
towards proving Mitchell a much cleverer fellow than his mate, 
that the former built the wall alone, and that, too, in a single 
night!— [J. H.] 

Border Reivers' Praier. 

He that ordained us to be born, 
Send us more meat for the morn, 
Part oft right and part oft wrang, 
God never let us fast owre lang. 
God be thanked, and our Lady, 
All is done that we had rea(?y. 

The foregoing " prayer used by thieves and robbers of the 
Borders after meat, in order to stealing from their neighbours " 
on the morrow, is excerpted from Mr George Sinclair's tome, 
Satayi's Invisible World Discovered^ Edin., 1769, I2mo [Edition 
of 1815, p. 148]. 

Berwick Bairns, &c., &c. 

" Hereafter then, should any of his English or Scottish neigh- 
bours," in allusion to the town of Berwick, '' having long been 
deemed a district distinct from both countries, cast up to any 
Berwick bairn as we have oft heard done, ' That after England 
and Scotland were made, Berwick was formed of the useless 
rubbish that was left,^ let him boldly ask the name of the calum- 
niator's calf-town, and it is ten to one but he nan retort the 

* i.e. Michael Scott, the wizard, 


snrcasm by telling him that Berwick was born and named and 
looked bonnily out on the sea as a new busked bride, before 
the place of his nativity had either ' a local habitation or a 
name.' Should he be a Newcastle Keeler, he may tell him 

that his town is but an upstart of yesterday in com- 

parisnn. As the Israelites of old had their proverb ' From Dan 
to Beersheba,' the Scots have their ' Frae Maidenkirk to John 
o' Groats,' so the country folks in England have a similar pro- 
verbial distich, which fairly casts those of Jew and Sawnie into 
the shade, and which clinks sweepingly thus : — 

From Berwick to Dover 
All the world over." 

Hogg's Weekly Instructor, New Series, i., 384, Edin., 1848. 
The communication is signed Paedeutes. — [J. H.] 

LoRBOTTLE (ante, pp. 18, 19). 

In addition to the efforts of the inhabitants of Lorbottle to 
secure the cuckoo, told at p. 19, it is currently reported 
that they made an attempt to gain exclusive possession of the 
moon. Observing that the pale-faced luminary was, evening 
after evening, on the top of the neighbouring hill of Addycomb, 
the sages of Lorbottle concluded that she might be caught there. 
They accordingly determined on an expedition for this purpose, 
and had a sledge made whereon to convey their captive home. 
The first night they were disappointed and grieved at finding 
themselves too late, as she had just fled out of reach. It was 
then determined to be there in sufficient time the following 
night and wait her arrival. But alas ! they had the mortifica- 
tion to find that the modest oib shunned their approach ; for 
when they first caught a glimpse of her she was peering over 


the next hill to the eastward. But the efforts of the Lorbottleltes 
Avere as vain as those of the primitive Arcadians cliasing the 

These stories show that the simple-minded folks of Lorbottle, 
like many others in a similar condition, yet living, had an eye 
to their own interest ; and that utilitarianism does not belong 
exclusively to (though it is undoubtedly one of its most dis- 
tinguishing characteristics of) the present age. — [Thomas 

[A parallel incident to this is told about the " Newbiggin 
folks and the moon." Newbiggin, in the. parish of Oxnam, in 
Roxburghshire, was a village made up of small proprietors, 
holding of the Marquis of Lothian, as representative of the 
Abbots of Jedburgh, who were finally evicted, with scant justice, 
in the beginning of the present century, for defect of legal titles. 
" The favourite story kept up against the ' folks o' Newbiggin ' 
has always been that of their attempt to catch the moon. The 
legend goes that they from time to time, seeing the moon 
shining over the hill, took it into their heads to try to lay hold 
of it. They therefore formed themselves into a band one night, 
and placing a ladder upon a sled, they climbed to the top of 
Jock's Hill, intending to rest the ladder foot there, and thereby 
capture the luminary. To their surprise they found themselves 
as far as ever from the moon, and they felt baffled and descended 
the hill. On reaching the village one of the party declared, to 
his as^tonishment, he found the moon shining into the hen-baulks. 
The moon, they concluded, was too fickle to lay hold of. No 
Newbiggin man, woman, or child ever heard of the end of the 
moon affair."— Mr. William Brockie, in Border Treasury, 
p. 186, who appears to have had it from James Telfer, of 
Saughtree. — J. H.] 

Ross for rabbits and Elswick for kail, 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Howick for ale ; 


Howick for ale, and Kyloc" for scrubbers, 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Lowick for robbers ; 

Lowick for robbers, Buckton for bread, 

Of a' tlie towns e'er I saw, Holy Island for need ; 

Holy Island for need, and Grindon for kyc, 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Doddington for rye ; 

Doddington for rye, Bowisdon for rigs, 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Barmoor for Whigs ; 

Barmoor for Whigs,f Tweedmouth for doors. 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Ancroft for whores ; 

Ancroft for whores, and Spittal for fishers, 

Of a' the towns e'er I saw, Berrington for dishes, J 

Howick I cannot locate satisfactorily. The other fourteen 
villages are either within the circuit of North Durham, or close 
upon its boundaries. 

" Let it be booked with the rest." — Shakespeare. 
The Si'iTTALLERs Butter their Bread on Both Sides. § 

The village of Spittal is becoming famous as a watering- 
place, but I am unable to speak definitely as to whether the 
saying hints at the affection of the natives or visitors in their 
'' liking of good living.^' [" Buttering them up " means flattery, 
in which the Spittal folks are said to have gained extraordinary 

* Being close on the moor edge. 

f Whigs was the Northumbrian reproach for Presbyterians, and is 
still in use in some inland localities. In Newcastle they and other 
Nonconformists were called ** Quigs." — J. H. 

\ (?) Dishers, i.e., dish turners. 

§ The four following sayings I sent to Mr. Denliam, but being too 
late to be included in liis book he added them in a separate brochure. 
It was tlie last of his tracts, excepting the classified catalogue of what 
he had written. — J, H, 


" If they come, they wiuna come, 
And if they dinna come, they'll come hame." 

This is the Woolei* version of '' an old, old, very old " Border 
saw, already recorded. It was taken down from the lips 
of a local antiquary residing at the above town. Happily 
the saying does not now apply ; yet many thanks to tradition 
for preserving it in its primitive native garb. It refers us back 
to the period wherein— if the reiving Scots came, the cattle out 
grazing [on the town's common] would not return ; but, if the 
Scots made no raid, the cattle were all safe. 

The meikle pot o'Haggp.rstone makes mony a Papist. 

It was a saying about Sir Carnaby Haggerstone, who was a 
Koman Catholic, " That his wife made more converts to mass 
with the kale pot than the priest did with preaching." 

Communicated by a Scots antiquary who, like myself, is " a 
snapper up of unconsidered trifles." This will account for its 
appearing in a Scottish guise. [I must here, however, say that 
the language is not Scottish, but Northumbrian, of the present 
day.— J. H.] 

Up-hill, turn again. 
Round about the Horlstane. 

An old bastile-house [Hebburn Castle or Tower, the old seat of 
the family of Htbburn] stands in the southern part of Chillingham 
Park, from which a concealed passage was said to have passed 
to a pillar-like store, named the Horl-stone or Hurl-stone, in a 
field near the Now Town of Chillingham or Chillingham Newton. 
The supposed subterraneous exit is indicated by the above 
rhymes. By some this saying is applied to Cateran's Hole, 


but those versed in traditiou say that Cateran's Hole runs to 

Horl-stone is by some conjectured to be Earl's Stone. It 
was erected in a socket by Mr. Jobson, late farmer of Chilling- 
ham Newton : and some years ago had a portion struck off it 
by lightning. 


In taking this final leave of my book, " I referre me wholly 
to the learned corrections of the Wise ; for wel I wote, that no 
treatise can always be so workmanly handled but that somewhat 
sometymes may fall out amisse, contrarle to the expectation of 
the Reader; wherefore my petition to thee. Gentle Reader, is to 
accept those my traveyles wyth that minde I doe offer them to 
Thee, and take gently that I give gladly ; in so doing, I shall 
thinke my paynes well bestoAved, and shall bee encouraged 
hereafter to trust more to thy courtesie." — Hill's Physiognomy, 
Lond. 1571. 

Iterum Vale ! 

M. A. D. 

2 A 



[_Namcs of towns or other jdaces, when not accomjjanicd by a descriptive note 
are place names which occur in rhymes orproverhs.] 

Aboo, battle cr^' of the Irish, 123 

Agricultural village, 13 

Ague, gibbet charm for, 73 

Aislaby, 109 

Allan, family of, 69 

Allan (Piper), tunes composed by, 21 

Allendale, 333 

Alne, 310 

Alnwick, 20, 287, 334, 335 

freeman's custom, 259-261 

tobacco, 35 

Alterbum, 335 

Anagram on Henry Percy, 229 

on George Clifford, Earl of 

Cumberland, 172 

Ancroft, 11,86, 351 

Anfield, 68 

Anglos, conversion of, to Christianity, 

Animals, magic, 24 

horns of, fixed on trees, 215 

Appleby, 219 

Archery butts, 180 

Arms, coat of, Yorkshireman's, 119 

Arms of the Isle of Man, 187, 196, 
198, 199 

Armstrong (Archie), 176-177 

Armstrong, family of, 248-249 

Ascension Day, aquatic procession on, 

Ashton (Sir Kalph), 102-103 

Askew's ducks, 35 

Assize rhymes, 308, 309 

Athol, Duke of. King of Man, 188-189 

Auckland (West) provei'b, 60 

Aurora Borealis, superstitions concern- 
ing, 251-252 

Axwell Park, 91 

Babington (Sir John), 257 
Backside, dialect use of the word, 89 
Balcanqual (Dr. W.)> Dean of Dur- 
ham, 41 

Baldrick or broad belt worn by men 

of high station, 142 
Baliol (Edward), King of Scotland, 

legend, 215-216 
Ballad of the Orton Boggle, 225-226 
" The Black Sow o' Rimside," 

" Poor Jack and Tom," 346- 

Balliol family, 114 
Balliol (John), cowardice attributed 

to, 104-5 
Bamboroughshire, 336 
Bambrough Castle, 19 
Banbury, Mayor of, 55 
Banton, 220 

Barbachlee, Scotland, 91 
Barge day at Newcastle, 305 
Bannoor, 351 

Barnabas (St.) Day, tradition concern- 
ing, 79 
Barnard Castle, 81-84, 98, 104 

feuds at, 74-75 

Barney Castle, 108 

Barnkins, border stronghold, 152 

Barnscar, 165 

Barrington (Hon. Shute), Bishop of 

Durham, 106 
Barton, 182 

Bastle House, border stronghold, 152 
Batablers, inhabitants of debateable 

lands, 150 
Bath, go to, a maledictory expression, 

Bathket, Scotland, 91 
Battle cry of the Irish, 123 
Battles, see '* Bramham Moor," " Flod- 

den," " Otterburn," " Sheriffmuir," 

" Shrewsbury," " Towton," 
Bavington Syke, 237 
Bears, name of Berwick derived from, 

Bciufront, 259 

2 a2 



Beckermont, 1G5, 178 

Bcde, birthplace of, 43 

chair of, in Jarrow Church, 110- 

111; chip from, charm to procure 

Bedlington terriers, 35 
Bedlingtonshire, formerly in Durham, 

Bedstead in Naworth Castle, 17 7 
Beggars, popular rhyme founded upon, 

Belford, 11, 270 

Bell at Hexham Abbey church, 281 
Bell, church, rhymes, 213 

■ ringing at Newcastle, 308 

rope, story about a, 86-87 

Bellasis family, 90-97, 114 

Bellingham, 339 

Bellingham (Sir Alan), 243 

Belt, of Highlandman, 81 ; baldrick 

called, 142 
Benchester, 91 
Benfieldside, 92 
Bennet (William), prior of Finchale, 

Berrington, 22, 351 
Bertram family, 114 
Berwick-on-Tweed, 281-292 
Berwick, sayings relating to, 2-6, 348, 


slogan, 134, 276 

Bessie with the broad apron, 143 
Bessy o' Borrowdale, 169 
Beswick's kye, 214 
Betsey Caius, ship so called, 25-26 
Bewcastle, 150, 160 
Biddick, 111 

Biddick, go to, a maledictory expres- 
sion, 46 
Biddick, lawless town of, 60 
Biddleston, 19 

wheat stack of, 37 

Bildershaw, hill near Piercebridge, 92 

Billy, dialect word, Berwick, 292 

Billymill, 333 

Billy-row, a Durham Tillage, 45 

Bingfield Comb, 237 

Binsey, 93 

Bishop Auckland, 93 

Black Boy, a Dui-ham village, 45 

Lad, riding the, of Ashton- 

under-Lyne, 103 
Black diamonds, name for coal, 306 
Black Indies, name for Newcastle, 

Black Tom of the North, 147-148 
Blake'.aw, 329 

Blakestone family, 115 

Blayden, 322 

Bloodhounds, 154-155 

Bloody hand, robber taken in the act, 

Bine, colour of Manx dress, 199 
Blythe, 310, 312 
Bodsbeck, the Ettrick Forest fairy, 

Boggle, the Orton, a ballad, 225-226 
Bogglehole, 339 
Bokanki, name for cowards, 4 1 
Bolam Cross, 95 
Bolliope, 112 

Border cattle stealers, 175-176 
Borrowdale, 175, 182 
Boulmer gin, 35 
Bowes family, 100-101, 115 

slogan, 138-139 

Bowes (Squire), of Thornton Hall, 66 

Bowfell, mountain, 159 

Bowisdon, 351 

Bowsdon, 11 

Brackenbury familv, 98, 103, 114 

Bradford, 238 

Brafiferton, 76 

Bramham Moor, battle of, 230 

Brampton, 166 

Brandling family, 247 

Branks at Durham, 52 ; at Newcastle, 

Bribery at elections, 6 
Brigham, 183 

Broach, north of England word, 77 
Brough, 213-214, 222 
Brown (William), highway robber, 66, 

Brownie, Scottish, 201, 202 
Brussleton, 89 
Buckingham, 174 
Bnckton, 351 
Budle cockles, 35 
Building legends, Crookham, 10-11; 

Manx, 202-203 
Building traditions, 348 
Balls, red, of Berrington, 22 
Bulmer family, 115 

slogan, 131, 276 

Bumblers, name for the Derwent 

legion, 68 
Burcastle, 304 
Burdon family, 115 
Burial customs during the plague, 11 
Burning Spears, name for the Northern 

Lights, 252 
Burns (Robert), lines supposed to be 

by, 287 



Burr of Northumberland dialect, 28 

Burrell family, 13-14, 270 

Bnsy gap, 345 

Butterbum, 262-263 

Butterby churchgoer, 40 

Bntterwick, 94 

Byerley (Colonel), regiment of, 68 

Byke Hill, 259 

Cakes, Shrove Tuesday, 200 

Calais alluded to, in Berwick rhyme. 3 

Caldbeck, 162-163 

Calder, river, 158, 182 

Calf-yard, birthplace or fireside, 306 

Callaly Castle, building tradition, 32.3- 

Cannibalism of mosstroopers, 154 

" Canny Newcastle," 309 

Canute, King, tradition of, 94 

Capoatree, 149 

Card playing, 332, 342 

Cards, anecdote about, 217 

saying used in games of, 236 

name for four of hearts, 298 

Carel, i.e. Carlisle, fair, 180 

Carey's raid, 157-158 

Carham Hough, 7 

Carlisle, 147, 149, 150, 180, 181 

Carpets, absence of, indicated by a 
tradition, 177-178 

Cartington, 343 

Caster pence, Konian coins so called, 

Casticam, mountain, 161 

Casticand, mountain, 158 

Castle banks, 329 

Castle Rushen, Man, legend of, 197- 

Castlecon, Man, 203 

Cat, Manx, 186, 198-199 

Catchedecam, mountain, 159 

Cateran's hole, 352-353 

Cattle, proverbial saying about Dur- 
ham, 64 

old Northumbrian, of red 

colour, 22 

Cauld Lad of Hilton, 202 

Cave at Stockton, tradition as to, 108 

Charles I., in popular tradition, 163 

at Durham, 39 

Charm, gibbet used as, 73 

Chatton, 14, 272, 273 

Cheeseburn Grange, 334 

Chest, town, of Newcastle^ 60 

Chester-Ie-Street, 67, 77 

Cheswick, 321,331 

Cheviot, 12 

Cheviots, 317, 318, 325, 330 

Cheviot sheep, 35 ; honey, 35 

Chevy Chase, 30 

Children played for, 67 

pilgrimage to Finchalc to 

obtain, 54 

wishing chair for procuring, 

109, 111 
Chillingham, 14, 272, 273, 325 
Christianity, ignorance of, by Durham 

woman, 106 
Church building legend, Manx, 202-203 

legend, 10-11 

veneration for the building, 

Civil war, anecdote of, 307 
Civil war incident, 93, 210-211 
Clan tunes, 239 
Clannishness of Northumberland folkj 

Clavering, family of, 91 
Claxton family, 115 
Clea, 182 

Clergy, stipend of, 148 
Clifton, 183 

Clothes, fairy's objection to, 201 
Clothing, proverb on bad, 109 
Clouds, weather indications of, 7 
Coal tax, 24 

Coat Garth farmstead, 218 
Cocker, 183 

river, 158 

Cockermouth, 182 

Cockfield, 83, 86 

Cocklaw, 337 

Cockles, famous at Bedwell, 19 

Coffin Brigg, 217 

Coins, Roman, popular names for, 91 

Coldingham, 288 

Coldingham Moor, 273 

Collingwood family, 100, 243 

Collingwood (Lord), 341 

Conyers family, 115 

Cooper (Matthew), Canon of Durham, 

Coquet, 275,313,315 
Coquetdale man, 37 
Corby, 181 

Cornwood, mountain, 159 
Coster pence, Roman coins so called, 

Costume, see " Dress " 
County boundary of Durham, 91 

characteristics, 166 

Conpland (Sir John), 31 



Com-ts of the Bioliop of Durham, 99 

Coverdale, 177 

Cowards, name for, 41 

Cox Green, 77 

Craddock family, 115 

Cradock, cunning as, proverb, 45 

Craike, formerly in Dui'ham, 91 

Crankies, name for pitmen. 293 

Crasters, family of, 238 

Crawhall, 266 

Cricket, saying used in game of, 91 

Croakumshire, name for Northumber- 
land, 304 

Ci'ookham, 10 

Crookhouse, 10 

Crossfell, mountain, 159 

Crowley (Sir Ambrose), 59 

Crowdy, Shrove Tuesday, 200 

Crozier, family of, 115, 247 

Cruelsyke, 314 

Crusades, legend of, 69, 97 

Cuckoo story at Lorbottle, 261-262 

Cud-doos, St. Cuthbert's pigeons, 35 

Culburnie, Scotland, 91 

Cumberland rhymes, 141-185 

Cumwhitton, ai'chery butts at, 180 

Cup-markings, 336 

Cups, fairy, 119 

Cursing proverb, Manx, 197 

Custom, preservation of, inculcated by 
a proverb, 192 

Cutbbert (St.), stone boat of, 8-9 

Cuthbert's (St.) beads, 35 

ducks, 35 

patrimony, 100 

pence, coins found at 

Carlisle called, 181 

Dacres (Lord), killed at Towton, 113- 

Dagger money, 155 

Dalby, Man, 203 

Dalstone, 183 

Dalton, 86 

Dancing, peculiar step, 299 

tune, Durham, 35 

Danes, Barnscar built by, 165 

Darlington, 52, 78-80 

Darlington (Harry Vane, Earl of), 

Davy shield, 268, 311 

Dean, 182, 183 

Death, customs at, during plague, 11 

places of, remaining perma- 
nent, 5 

Death, prognostication of, 3 

Debatcable lands, inhabitants of the, 

Deemster, oath of. Isle of Man, 186- 

Defoe (Daniel), anecdote of, 63 

Demons and church building, Manx, 

Dent, 218 

Derwent, river, 158 

legion, called Bumblers, 68 

Derwentwater (James Ratcliffe, Ejirl 
of), 250-251 

Devil, Donnat, a name for, 110 

and his mother, 159 

Devil, legend of, 335, 336 

Devil's water dog, otters so called, 

Devonshire legend, 329 

Dialect of Berwick, 288 ; Newcastle, 

of Darlingtonshire, 79 

Northumberland, 28 

Westmoreland, 223, see " Back- 
side," " Billy," " Binchester Pen- 
nies," " Broach," " Foreigners," 
•' Gaunts," " Hunt," « Loans," 
" Yellerish " 

Dill, 310- 

Dilston, 322 

Distington. 182 

Doddington, 13,272,351 

Dogs, places famous for breeding of, 

Donnat, a worthless wretch ,110 

Door-head inscription, 224 

Dorrington, 14 

Dorsetshire Dorsers, 166 

Downham, 9 

Dress, Manx national, 199 

see " Baldrick," " Belt," 

" Blue," " Green," " Tartan" 

Drig, 165, 178 

Drowned persons, 7 

Druids, supposed haunt of, 221 

Drunkard's cloak, punishment, 293- 

Duck (Sir John}, rhyme on, 44, 49 

Dufton, s.aying concerning, 165 

Dullish, bye-name for Castleton folk, 
Manx, 203 

Dun cow, legend of, 38 

Dunelm of crab, a piece of ancient 
cooker}', 47 

Dunstanborough, 267 

D union, 317 

Dunterley, 339 



Dnrham (city of), rhymes and phrases 
relating to, 1, 38-53 

Bishops of, riches of, 39 

Bishopric of, rhymes, &c., re- 
lating to, 53-120 

Button, river, 158 

Eaglesfield, 183 

Eamont, river, 158 

Earsdon, 333 

Easter Monday custom, 103 

Eden river, 158, 180, 206-207 

Edenhali, luck of, 119, 183-185 

Egdale, 220 

Egglescliffe, 109 

Egremont, 182 

Elf hills, 211 

Elieshaw, 314, 329 

Ellen, river, 158 

Elliesheugh, 330 

Elliots, family of, 218, 250 

Elsdon moat, 339 

English border sayings against the, 

Epitaphs, 44, 45, 62, 72, 170, 172, 173, 

205, 212, 222, 255, 265, 297 
Eshott Hall, 332 
Esk, river, 158 
Eslingto^, 17 
Essex calves, 166 
Ettrick Forest fairy, 202 
Etymology (folk) of Berwick, 6, f- 

10, 163, 216 
Evenwood, 84-85 
Evers family, 115 
Eyemouth, 288 

Fair at Carlisle, 180 

Fairies, adventures with, 116-119 

robbery from, 184, 185 

of Rothley, 270 

Manx, 201-202, see "Bogle," 

" Brownie," " Ettrick," " Goblin," 

" Hilton " 
Fairs at Keswick, 162 
Family slogans, 124-129, 132-134, 134- 

140, 276 
Farmer's proverb, 178 
Farm holdings in common, 338 
Fasting of the monks, rhyme on, 11 
Fecundity, 54, 67, 109, 110 
Feet, peculiar shape of, among Lor- 

bottle people, 262 
Felton, 20, 113, 269 
Fenwick shield, 23 

Feawick slogans, 125-127 

rhymes, 234-236 

Fenwick (Sir John), 340 ^ 

Ferry Hill, 94 

Feuds, border, 74-75 

tribal, 155-156 

Fiery cross, or message spear, 241 

Finchale, 53; pilgrimage to, to ensure 
offspring, 54 

Priory, wishing chair at 


Finger game, nursery, 182 

Fishburn, 94 

Fisherman, weather sayings of, 7 

Flodden, battle of, 179 

Edge, 32 

Folk etymology, 6, 9, 10, 163 

Folk-moot at Tynwald, Isle of Man, 

Font, 310 

Fool, the Bishop's, 39 

Foreigners, name for neighbouring 
townsfolk, 22 

Forest, ancient, indicated in place 
rhymes, 91 

Fors'ter family, 268 

Foster family, 115 

Foulthorpe family, 115 

Framlington, 21 

clover, 36 

Frosterley, 110 

Fruchie, go to, a maledictory expres- 
sion, 46, 86 

Gainford, 103 
Gallows at Durham, 52 
Games, boys', 151-152, 235-236 

nursery, 182, 237, 240 

competitive, on the Marches, 

Garmondsway Moor, 93 
Garter, institution of the, 9 
Garth family, 1 15 
Gateshead, 80-81, 301 
Gateside, 107 

" Gaunts," sighs, yawns, 329 
Gelt, peak of Helvellyn mountains, 


river, 158 

Bridge, execution of Jacobites at, 

Geordie, a collier vessel from the Tyne, 

Geordies, sailors from Shields so 

called, 70 ; Newcastle, 71 
George I., anecdote of, 51 



Gerse dyke, Eoman earthwork, 178 

Ghost of Percy Keed, 247 

walking, 24 

Ghosts of executed rebels, 149 

Giant legends, 112, 197-198 

of Troutbeck, 206 

Gibbet charm for ague and toothache, 

Gilpin (Bernard), 57 

Gilpin (Richardj, -n-ild boar slain by, 

Gilsland well, 164 

Ginger-bread, manufacture of, at Bar- 
nard Castle, 83 

Barney Castle, 108 

Gipsy ground, 314, 315 

Glanton greens, 35 

Glendale, ten towns of, 31 

Gluttony, rhyme as to, 1 8 

Gobbocks, bye-name for Dalby folk, 
jSIanx, 203 

Goblin, cauld lad o' Hylton, 55-57 

Hobthrnsh, 339 

Goose pasture, right of, 148 

Gooseberries, bribes at elections so 
called, 6 

Gordon, Jean, story of, 172-173 

Gotham, name for Newcastle, 303 

Gotharaite stories, 19, 166, 349-350 

see "Cuckoo," "Gowks" 

Gowks of Glendale, 12 

men of Weardale, so called, 96 

Graemes, border thieves, 146 

Graysouthen, 183 

Green, dress of fairies, 116 

Greta, river, 158 

Grey family, 256-257 

Grindon, 351 

Gwonny Jokesane's day, 26 

Hadden, 9 

Haddock boys, bye-name for Peel folk, 

Manx, 203 
Haggerstonn, Sir Camaby, 352 
Hail, 182 
Hall, family of, 247 

famil}', of Berwick, 14-15 

Hall (Shankev), 69 

Haltwhistle, 2"'67 

Hampshire hogs, 166 

Hamsterley, 110 

Hang-bank, hill near Melsonby, Yorks, 

Hang-a-dyke Nook, opposite Berwick 

Castle, 6 
Hanging incident at Bowsdon, 11-12 

Hanging-stone, 328-329 

Hang the fellow, 141-142 

Hansard family, 115 

Hants, Roman coins called onion pen- 
nies in, 91 

Hap, meaning of, 296 

Harnham, 238 

Harper's warning. 271 

Harraby Hill, 147 

Harrington, 22, 182 

Hartlepool, 89, 111 

■ Mayor of, 55, 67 

Hartley, 333 

Harvest, the white, 179 

Harwood, 107 

Hawkey, rhyming proverb on the name, 

Head lam, 89 

Hearths, construction of, 332 

Heaton, 265-266 

Hebburn, 332 

Heckley fence, 335 

Hector's cloak, 242 

Hedgehope, 12 

Hell-kettles, three deep pits so called, 

Helm-wind, 218 

Hendon, 91 

Heron, local name for, 76 

Heron (Sir George), 256 

Heron slogan, 138, 276 

Herring, alluded to in oath of the 
Deemster, Isle of Man, 186-187 

fishery. Isle of Man, 191-192 

Hesleyside, 337, 339 

Hett, 94 

Hetton, 65 

Hexham, 278-281,344 

glovers, 35 

Hildesley, Bishop of Man, 200 

Hilton, cauld lad o', 55-57, 202 

Hingham, 182 

Hiring of servants, Manx, 199 

Hobthrush, goblin, 339 

Holme Cultram, 169 

Holy Island, 327, 351 

Holy mawl rhymes, 170-171 

Holy Rood Day, stag offered on, a 
Durham Priory, 95 

Holy Well, 333 ; see « Wells " . 

Horse, value of, to borderers, 17 

Horstone, legend of, 352-353 

Horton, 14 

Hotspur, prognostication of his death, 

Howard (Lord William), 141-143 

Howden-pan, 261 



Howdenshire, formerly in Durham, 91 

Howick, 332, 351 

Humshangh, 337 

Hundred, division of tovrnship, 206 

Hunt, folk-etymology derived from 

incidents of the, 9-10 
Hunterley, 339 
Hunting song, fragment, 16 
Huntingdonshire sturgeons, 166 
Hurrock, piled-up heap [of rubbish], 

Hutchinson (Barnabas), proctor of 

Durham, 45 
Hutton-Henry, 90 
Hylton family, 71-72, 82, 115 
Hythe, kin, be akin to, 65 

Iceton, 68 

Impiety, punishment for, 79 
Indecision, popular saying as to, 18 
Insula (Robert de). Bishop of Durham, 

Inundations from the Tees, 87 
Ireland, otters in, 87 
Irish, Manx proverb against, 192-193 
Irish, battle cry of ^ 1 23 
Irt, river, 158 
Irving, river, 158 

Islandshire, formerly in Durham, 91 
Iver-ha', 339 

James I., anecdote of, 61, 92, 151, 156 

union of crown under, 250 

James II. [Duke of York], anecdote 
of, 80 

Jamie, a collier vessel from the Wear, 

Jamie Hedley's clover, 36 

Jammies, sailors from Sunderland 
so called, 71 

Jarrow, 88-89 

birthplace of Bede, 43 

Church, Bede's chair in, 110- 


Javelin, fairy, 118 

Jedworth slogans, 127-128 

Jennison family, 115 

Jesus Christ, allusion to as a gentle- 
man, 106 

Johnson (Ambrose), family of, 75 

Judges, custom of meeting on Shirrey 
Moor, 81 

Jury, verdicts of, 223 

KaberKigg, 217 

Keeldar stone, 268-269 

Keepick, 337 

Keir, river, 220 

Kendal, 208. 219, 222, 223 

Kent, river, 220 

Kent, yeoman of, 259 

Kentish long tails, 166 

Keswick Fair, 102 

Kilham, 9 

King of Patterdale, 145-146 

Kings, petty, of Northumberland and 

Westmoreland, 207-208 
Kinnyside, 182 
Kirby, Stephen, 213 
Kirkby Lonsdale, 208-209 
Kissing Hill, 217 
Kleptomania, anecdote of, 224 
Knipe, 219 
Knock, 207 

Knock-kneed person, saying about, 48 
Kyloe, 351 

Ladford farmstead, 218 

Laidlaw worm, 1 9-20 

Laird, Northumberland title of, 258 

Lamberton, marriages at, 289 

Lambton, 111 

Lambton family, 106, 115 

Lambton worm, 46, 64-65 

Lancashire Lonks, 166 

saying, 180 

Land, small value of, to borderers, 17 
Lands End, alluded to, in Berwick 

rhyme, 3 
Lanercost, 183 
Langbarrow pennies, Roman coins so 

called, 91 
Langleyford farmhouse, 12 
Lartington, 81 
Lauvellin, mountain, 158 
Lawbottle, cuckoo story, 349-350 
Lawless men, gathering of, at Biddick, 

Laws, local, superseding general law, 

Lee (St. John), 268 
Lceball family, 257-258 
Legends and traditions of Edward 

Baliol, 216-216; St. Barnabas Dav, 

Legends, Devonshire, 329 ; of devil, 

Legs-Cross, hill near Melsonby, Yorks, 

Leicestershire Beanbellies, 166 



Leven, river, 158 

Lewick, village of, 36 

Liddal, river, 158 

Lilburne familv, 115 

Lilburne (John), 58-59 

Lincolnshire bagpipers, 166 • 

Lisleburn, 275, 342 

Little, family of, border rievers, C5 

Lively (John), Vicar of Kelloe, 58 

Loans, places where cows are milked 

in common pasture, 329 
Local slogans, 129-132, 134 
Lockford farmstead, 218 
London (Little), a part of Bishop 

Auckland, 105 

towns called "Litile," 182 

• lickpennies, 166 

Long Meg and her Daughters, 166 
Longhaugh, 339 
Longtown, 333 
Lorbottle, 18 

cubs of, 37 

cuckoo story of, 261-262 

Lowdore, river, 209 

Lowick, 351 

Lowther family, 209, 223-224 

Luhberts, people of Anfield, so called, 

Luck of Edenhall, 183-185 

of Muncaster, 185 

Lumley family, 61, 70, 115 

MacCullock (Cutlar), a Gallovidian 
rover, 190-191 

Maddison family, 1 1 5 

Mainsforth, 85 

Mair family, 115 

Mar., Isle of, arms of, 187, 196, 198, 
199 ; king of, 188-189 ; popular 
rhymes, etc., of, 186 

Manx fairy cup, 1 19 

Marches, or debateable land, 276 

Mare and her foal, stone monument, 

Marriage ceremony at Jarrow, 67 

Marriage custom, 82 

Marriage, objection against, to non- 
townsfolk, 22 

rhymes relating to, 21 

Marriages at Lamberton, 289 

Man-iages, border, 27-28 

Marwood, 84 

Mawl, holy, rhymes, 170-171 

Meadow bank, 334 

Meldon, 322 

Merry Dancers, name for the Northern 

Lights, 252 
Message spear, or fiery cross, 241 
Midden, town, at Newcastle, 309 
Middleham, 93 
Middlesex clo^vns, 166 
Midridge, myth of, 116-119 
Mite, river, 158 
Mitford, 326 

Mock mayor, Ovingham, 26 
Monkchester, old name for Newcastle, 

305, 326 
Morden Carrs, 88 
Morlan Fair, 161-162 
Morpeth, 22-23, 265, 267, 287, 326, 

Morton, Bishop of Durham, 108 
Moss-troopers' motto, 276 
Mounsey, King of Patterdale, 145-146 
^Mountains of Northumberland, 309- 

Mowbray slogans, 137 
Muffled man, 157 
Muncaster, luck of, 185 
Municipal custom at Alnwick, 259- 

261 ; at Berwick, 283 
Murder near Lilbum Allers, 15-16 
Musgrave, 213 
Mustard, manufactured at Durham, 

48, 51' 

Nag and foot tenements, 152 

Names of Northumberland folk, 274 

National antipathy expressed in pro- 
verbs, 192-193 

Naworth, 183 

Naworth Castle, 142 

Neck verse, 147 

Neville family, 107, 115 

Neville (Hugh), story of, in the Holy 
Land, 69 

Neville (Robert), 113 

Neville (Robert, Lord of Raby), death 
of, 95 

Neville slogans, 136-137 

Nevilles of Raby, war cry of, 102 

Newcastle, 24, 287, 292, 325, 343 

Newcastle coals, 35 

New chapel flower, 36 

Nicknames, 37, 68, 71, 77, 140, 166, 
182, 203, 223, 304 

Hexham, 344-345 

Nine churches, legend about, 216 

Nixon's Glow, 178 

Noodle stories, see " Cuckoo," " Gotha- 
mite," " Gowks " 



Noodles, name for yeomanry at New- 
castle, 08 

Norfolk dumplings, 166 

Norfolk local proverb, 182 

Norham, 7 

Norhamshire, foiinerly in Durham, 91 

Northallerton, formerly in Durham, 91 

Northants, Eoman coins called cosfer- 
pence in, 91 

Northumberland, sayings relating to, 

rhymes and proverbs of, 227 

rivers and mountains, 309- 


village rhymes, 318-340 

Northumberland militia, 27 

Northumberland (Earl of), 20 

Nursery free-booting song, 336-337 

"game, 237, 240 

rhyme, 291 

Oath of the Deemster, Isle of Man, 

186 187 
Offering of stag at altar of Durham 

Priory, 95 
Old maids of Durham, 50 
Onion pennies, Roman coins so called, 

Orton Boggle, the, a ballad, 225-226 
Oswald, King of Northumberland, 254 
Otterbum, battle of, 124 
Otters, in the Tees and the Wear, 87 
Ovingham Fair, 26 
Ovington, 86 

Painshaw, 77 

Pallinsburn ducks, 35 

Pancakes, Shrove Tuesday, 200 

Pandongate, Newcastle, 300 

Parliamentarv election saying, 215 

Parr (Thomas), 205 

Parrot, stoiy of, 120 

Paston, 9 

Pasture, common, 243 

Patterdale, king of, 145-146 

Pauperism in Man, 193 

Peel, :Man, 203 

Peel houses, border stronghold, 152 

Pelaw, 111 

Pelton, 112, 113 

Penrith, 182 

Pepperv as Durham mustard, 39 

Percy rhymes, 227-233 

Percy slogans, 124, 125 

Perth (James Dnimmond, Duke of), 

Peterill, river, 158 

Phillipson family, 210-211 

Philological errors causing historical 
errors, 33. (Sec "Folk Etymolog)'") 

Phynnodderce, a Manx fairy, 201 

Picktree, 1 1 1 

Pidwell fishery, 7 

Picrsbridge, Roman coins found at, 91 

Pigeon, William, legend of, 331 

Pilling moss, 180 

Pinkey's Cleugh, prophecy concern- 
ing, 263 

Pipes, musical instrument of North- 
umberland, 239 

Pipers, town, 279 

Pipei-s' warning, 271 

Pits, called Hell-kettles, 79 

Physical types, peculiar, at Lorbottle, 

Place family, 115 

Plague of 1348-1357, 29 

burials, customs of, 11 

Playing-cards, knave of clnbs called a 
Sunderland fitter, 57 

Pollard family, 115 

Ponsonby, 182 

Pont, 24, 310, 312 

Potatoes first grown at Thropton» 342 

Prayer of the Border Thieves, 348 

Prebends, golden, of Dm-ham, 40 

Presbyterian Church legend, 10-11 

Presson, 9 

Priests, marriage of, 53, 54 

Prophecy, 183 

attributed to Mother Ship- 
ton, 95 

concerning Pinkciy's Cleugh, 


Prophecy fulfilled, 255 

Prostitutes, rhymes indicative of their 
location, 93, 104 

Protestant cause, success of, identified 
with a ship, 26 

Proverbs quoted, 38, 39, 42, 45, 141, 
186, 200, 205, 227 

Prudhoe castle, 326, 327 

Pndsey (Hugh), Bishop of Durham, 

Puffin, bird, 194 

Punctuality, proverb against want of, 
by Manxmen, 194, 196 

Punishment, branks for scolding 
women, 52, 294 ; cloak for a drunk- 
ard, 293-294 



Puns upon town names, 1 

Quakerism, proverb on, 92 

Raby Castle, Sir Harry Vane's pur- 
chase of, 105 

Raid, a game so called, ] 51-1 52 

Raids into England, 32-33 

Rain proverb, 217 

Rattenraw, 338 

Raven dropping a piece of silver, 
legend of, 41: 

Red hand, robber taken in the act, 

Red Robin, inn sign, 114 

Redesdale, 247, 325 

man, 37 

Redley family, 266 
Redley (Nicholas), 256 
Redpath, 327 

Redshanks, Manx name for Scotch- 
men, 195 
Reed, 310, 313 
Reformation rhymes, 53, 54 
Regiments, local, 27, 34-35, 68 
Reins, 339 

Religion, identified with race, 270 
Rhyme sung by ghost, 24 
Rhymes addressed to fairies, 117, 118 

(place), 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22 

of Northumberland villages, 


Rhyming grants, 252-254 

will, 170 

Richard I., story of, 47 

Richard III., mui'der of the princes 
by, 99 

Riches, prognostication of, legend, 44 

Richmond shilling, tax so called, 24 

Riding, 339 

Riding the Black Lad of Ashton- 
under-Lyne, 103 

Ridstow Tike, mountain, 161 

Rimside Moor, 321 

Rivers of Northumberland, 309-318 

see " Calder," " Cocker,"' " Dcr- 

went," "Dutton," " Eamont," "Eden," 
« Ellen," " Esk," " Gelt," " Greta," 
" Irt," " Irving," " Keir," •' Kent," 
"Leven," " Liddal," "Lowdore," 
" Mite," " Peterill," " Tees," " Till," 
" Tweed," " Tyne," " Wampool," 
" Waver " 

Roads, condition of, 66 

Robber anecdote, 264-265, 271 

Robbers (highway), 60, 78 

Robbery from fairies, 184, 185 

Robert, name of, prevalent at Whorl- 
ton, 70 

Robin of Redesdale, 135, 244 

Robin the Devil, 210-211 

Roddam, 16, 252 

Rokeby slogan, 132-134 

Roman coins, popular names for, 91 

earthwork, 178 

Wall, Tradition of, 348 

Rookby farmstead, 218 

Roseberry Topping, 88 

Rosegill, 220 

Rothbury, 316, 330 

Rothley, fairies of, 270 

Rowley Burdon, name in a popular 
toast, 68 

Rnberslaw, 317 

Rukleton, 111 

Ruth family, 115 

Sackworth, field name, 219 

Sacrilege, hatred of by Manx, 197 

Sadberge, manor of, 47, 76 

Saffron Walden, 93 

St. Bees, 182 

St. George, battle cry of, 123 

Salvin family, 115 

Sanctuary, stone to indicate boun- 
daries of, 25 

Sandhiller, a female blackguard, 297 

Saracen's heads, Roman coins so 
called, 91 

Saufey money, protection money 
against marauders, 102 

Sayings, popular, relating to North- 
umberland, North Durham, and 
Berwick, 1-37 

Scawfell, mountain, 159 

School boys' name for cowards, Dur- 
ham, 41 

Scot, a term of scorn, 248 

Scotch and English, a game so called, 

Scotchman, proverbs on, 302, 303 

Scots, border sayings against the, 29 

Scott, Michael, builder of Roman 
Wall, 348 

Scottish invasion of Man, 194 

forests, indicated in place 

rhymes, 91 

Scremerston crows, 35 



Scremerston, lime, 35 

Scriptural place names in Isle of Man, 

Scrnffell, mountain, 160 
Sealing, impressing the wax with the 

tooth, 253 
Sea spirit, Manx, 203-204 
Seaton, 111 
Seaton Delaval, 333 
Sedgefield, 85-86, 94 
Senhouse, family of, 167, 168-169 
Setons, execution of, 5 
Shadforth family, 65, 115 
Shaftoe (Robert), alluded to in song, 

Shaftoe slogans, 129, 276 
Shags, people of Winlaton so called, 

Shaving, customs of, at Newcastle, 

Shaw, 339 

Sheriff muir, battle of, 81 
Shiel, or shiels, place names ending in, 

Shields, 57, 327 

cailors from, 70 

go to, a maledictory expression, 

46, 86 
Shiney-row, a Durham village, 45 
Shipton (Mother), prophecy attributed 

to, 95 
ShirreyMoor, 81 
Shotley, 91 
Shrewsbury, battle of, 3-4, 125 

wife, saying about, 174 

Shrove Tuesday custom, 200-201 
Siward, Earl of Northumberland, 30 
Skaddou boys, bye-name for Peel folk, 

Manx, 203 
Skiddaw, mountain, 158, 160-161 
Sleuth hounds, 154-155 
Slogans and gathering cries, 121 IJO, 

" Snaffle spur and spear," northern 

counties' slogan, 131 
Sockbum, serpent legend at, 84 
Song, " Go to Berwick, Johnny," 290 

" Bobby Shaftoe," 74 

gathering ode of the Fenwicks, 

on the Tyne, 310 ; Nursery 

freebooting, 336-337 
Songs, Northumberland, relating to 

places, 34 
Sower pow, 217 
Sowies, diminutive of sows, 67 
Spittal, 288, 341,351 

Spittal, sands, 7 

Sporting proverb, 69 

Spring, Bothil, ran with blood when 

Charles I. was beheaded, 163 
Staff, white, of government, Manx, 

Stag, offering of, at altar of Durham 

Priory, 95 
Stainton, 111 
Stanhope, 104, 107, 103 
Stanley slogan, 139-140 
Stenkreth Mill, 217, 221 
Stobhill, 334 

Stockinger, a thick-set fellow, 223 
Stockton, mayor of, 67 
Stockton-on-Tees, 107 
Stone, inscribed, 161 

standing, at Yevering, 245 

treaty signed at, 92 

keeldar, 269 

monuments preserved by spirits, 


pillar, traditional orgin of, 112 

Stowgill fannstead, 224 

Straw, tenure by the, Manx, 195 

Street rhymes, 13 

Subterran(!an giant, Manx legend, 

Snnderiand, 57, 67, 71, 306 
Sunnyside, a Durham village, 45 
Surtees (Edward), anecdote of, 271 
Surtees family, 115 
Sword-dancers' song, 77 

Tailboys family, 115 

Tanfield, 68 

Tarret, 310, 313 

TaiTet slogans, 129-131 

Tarset, 310, 313 

Tartan, Northumberland, 34 

Team, 310 

Tees, 310, 313 

Tees, rhyme on, in connection with 

the Thames and Tyne, 87 
Teesdale, 247 

people, fends of, 74-75 

Tempest family, 54 
Tenure by nag and foot, 152 
Thames, in a Tees rhyme. 87 
Thiriwall Castle, 132 
Thirlwall slogans, 132, 276 
Threap lands, 151 
Thropton, 342 
Tickhill, 93 
Till, 310, 311 



Till, the river, names of the, 14 

Tillmocth, 8-9 

Tiudale, 247 

Tindall slogans, 127-123, 276 

Tiparee, 10 

Tippai, :no 

Toast, a popular, 68 

Tofthill, OG, 83, 109 

Token, 166 

Toothache, gibbet charm for, 73 

Towns used in maledictory expressions, 

Bath, Biddick, Fruchie, Shields, 46 
Township, divided into three hundreds 

Towton, battle of, 144 
Ti'easui'e, tradition as to existence of, 

Trees, animals' horns fixed on, 215 
Trindon, 94 
Trollop, Robert, 62 
Troutbeck, 206 
Trust, proverb on, 65 
Tume tabart, i.e. empty coat or 

coward, 105 
Tunstall, 65 
Turnip rhyme, 12 
Tweed, 310, 311, 312, 314, 316 

attributes of, 1 

Tweed and Tvne salmon, 35 
Tweedale, 247 
Tweedniouth, 288, 351 
Tyne, 310, 312, 313 
Tyne, in a Tees rhyme, 87 
Tynedale slogan, 132 
Tynemouth local saying, 25 
Tynwald, Isle of Man, 189-190 

Umfraville famil}', 55, 244, 246 
Uter Pendragon, 206-207 

Vane, Sir Harry, 61 

Village of farmers, 13 

Villages, rhymes on Northumberland, 

Vinegar Hill boys, bye-name for Peel 

folk, Manx, 203 
Virgin Mary worship, 36 

"Walcher, Bishop of Durham, 97 
Walker Shore, 259 
Wallington, 236-241 
Walwick, 337 
Wampool, river, 158 
Warcop, 213 

Ware, alluded to, in Berwick rhyme , 

Wark, 343 
Wark Castle, 9 

Warwick, Neville of, slogan, 134-136 
Washington, proverb on, 92 
Water spirit, 71 
Waver, river, 158 
Weardale, 90, 96, 107, 247 
Weather indications, 7 

foretold from waterfalls, 221 

rhyme, 85 

Wedderstone, 328 

Week, the busy, 32 

Well custom at Alnwick, 259-261 

St. Culhbert, robbery from 

fairies at, 184 

Gilsland, 164 

Wells at Stainton, 111 

West Sleddale, 217 

Westlington, 182 

Westmoreland rhymes, proverbs, &c., 
205, 217-226 

Wharton, Thomas, Lord, epitaph on, 

Whinetley, laird of, 264 

Whitesmocks, a Durham village, 45 

Whittingham, Dean of Durham, 104 

Whittle gait, right of food, 148 

Whorlton, 70 

Widdrington and his stumps, 30-31 

WildBoar Pell, 217 

Wilkinson family, 115 

AVilliam llufus, anecdote of, 305 

Willie Wastle, game of, 235-236 

AVind, proverb about the, 80 

Wiulater, in rhyming proverb, 72 

Winlaton, 68 

Wishing chair atFinchale, 109 ; Jar- 
row, 111 

Witch rhymes, 82 

Withershins, against the sun, 268-269 

Witton-le-Wear, 110 

Wolf-hunting legend, 163 

Wolf, men of Weardale alluded to, 96, 

AVolsingham, 110 

Wolves, prevalence of, in Weardale, 107 

Women, prevalence of unmarried, at 
certain villages, 94 

of Middleham, immorality of, 


Woodside, 275 

Woolpacks, Berwick, bridge built 

upon, 6 
Workington, 182 
Worthell Hall, 167-168 



Wotobank, 163 

Wrecking on Northumberland coast, 

Wreighill, 320 
Wren family, 115 
Wren hunting, Manx, 203-204 
WuUy's black horse, Jacobite legend, 

Wydon, 327 
Wyville family, 246 

Yarm, 109 

Yellerish, Cumberland dialect, 162 

Yeomanry, called Noodles, 68 

Yet, cry of, used in amusements, 131 

Yevering, the standing stone at, 245 

York (Cicel}', Duchess of), 72 

York conflict with Durham, episcopal, 

Yorkshire, in local proverb, 77 
Roman coins called Langbar- 

row pennies in, 91 
Yorkshireman's coat of arms, 119 
Yorkshire tykes, 166 









Denham, Michael Aislabie 
The Denham tracts 





' I Eunfflllfiimi